Essay Sample on Architectural Appreciation: A Visit to the Getty Center

Posted on January 31, 2008

Visual art has the power to fascinate any observer that is open to appreciating its manifestation and discerning the hard work that went into its creation. The purpose of this essay is to describe a visit to the Getty Center, which is located in Brentwood, California, and to explain how the visit left the observer with a deeper appreciation for architecture.

A few years ago, the observer encountered the external visual experience that encompassed the outer walls of the Getty Center. Whereas the typical visitor would be prompted to enter the building upon arrival in order to discover its content, that was not the initial reaction of the viewer. This particular spectator was instead captivated by the overall design of the exterior of the building. The outline of the building in question was so interesting that it provoked an otherwise architecturally nonobservant individual to take a deeper look.

There was something different about this building, although it readily resembles other popular buildings to the casual observer, such as the headquarters of Apple Computers and the Clinton Presidential Library. At first glance, it was quite challenging for the admirer to precisely pinpoint the unique characteristics of the structure. Unlike the other edifices, however, it seemed to blend nicely with its surroundings. The structure had stark blue windows, which blended in with the sky in the background. The white marble that encompassed the structure bore a striking resemblance to the clouds that were present just behind it. With such an architecturally perfect resemblance, the observer wondered whether or not the blending characteristics were implemented intentionally.
The observer quickly concluded that the reasoning behind the building’s design may have been in order to make a point, which was that the building – like everything else – was an extension of nature. Since the admirer lacked basic philosophy skills, he I didn’t even know what that meant, or if it would even make sense to any other individual.

Regardless, this prospective explanation seemed to make sense. Even the most casual observer would certainly figure that the colors of the building—blue and white—that blended with their surroundings were designed to foster a sense of harmony between the building and its environment. The observer in question felt a moment of doubt, thinking that perhaps the creator could not have possibly dedicated this much thought to its development, but he soon realized that his speculations were more likely than he originally imagined.

The fact is that, the architect is not just a designer, he’s an artist. And as an artist, he wants to convey an idea to his audience. Sometimes, this feat is accomplished easily, and sometimes it is not. As this observer quickly noticed, the artist had succeeded in transmitting that very idea.

The blue appearance of the windows has the initial effect of pushing the observer away. If, however, he takes an extended moment to look past them, it is possible to imagine what may be located inside. Perhaps this thought is the very first impression that comes to mind when one observes a piece of glass—that perhaps it can reveal the interior. The observer could not help but wonder if this was a way of saying that one should be open with nature, but he was not sure. Upon thinking deeper, he came to the realization that most structures have windows, so this simple thought was not likely the interpretation of a deep, meaningful symbolic transition on the part of the artist who designed the structure. However, the reflective coating that is used on the windows and the objects that they are designed to reflect could very well be an intentional captive of this artist.

The initial captivation that the observer experienced with this structure convinced him to stay a little longer in hopes that he could figure out what hidden or contorted inner goals the designer of the building was possibly trying to accomplish through the unique design of the building. It was at that point that he noticed something significant. Certain parts of the building had rounded edges instead of sharp ones. Even though the observer’s initial nature theory seemed to him to be foolish in the beginning, he started to confirm it at this point. Perhaps the architect felt that sharp edges resembled discord rather than harmony, and opted to go with round ones that blended with surrounding features instead.

Instead of entering the building upon his initial encounter of the exterior walls, the observer instead chose to stand outside and admire the architectural talent that had gone into the initial construction of the building. The overwhelming, creative design of the structure had posed a particular uniqueness that seemed almost hypnotic to the observer. Artwork such as this can easily be passed over if one is not patient enough to take a second look.

The admirer ended his trip to the building with a sense of pride. Even though he had no way to be absolutely certain if his theories were right or not, he could at least enjoy the satisfaction that he had at least made a genuine effort to interpret the hidden clues that embedded into a structure by an artist. He had also developed a better appreciation for architects and their work through this experience. It was this very experience that convinced the observer to go beyond just watching and observing buildings because of their appearance, but also watching and observing them for their symbolism.

The purpose of this essay has been to describe a visit to the Getty Center, which is located in Brentwood, California, and to explain how the visit left the observer with a deeper appreciation for architecture. This particular visit instilled the observer with the ability to stop and take a look at the design of a container before simply observing its contents.

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