A Grand New Getty

Architect Richard Meier's model for a sprawling art center shows there's lots of verve left in American modernism

American architecture has spent the past few years in the dumps, fretful and feckless. Aesthetically, there is neither invigorating ferment nor much consensus, and the collapse of both the housing and commercial real estate markets means that even big-name architects have precious little to do right now. So when Richard Meier's final designs for the J. Paul Getty Trust's vast art center, a $360 million, six-building museum-and-art-scholarship wonderland, were unveiled in Los Angeles last week, it wasn't just his envious peers who paid attention. Meier won the commission over 32 fellow architectural stars (including Charles Moore, Frank Gehry and Robert Venturi)...

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