Getting the Most Out of the Getty's Modern Architecture in L.A. Exhibit

The Getty's earth-shaking architecture exhibit is causing tremors all over town, and includes something for everyone, everywhere.

Image Provided by Gehry Partners, LLP One of the best-known examples of public modern architecture in Los Angeles is the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall, downtown. See this and other Los Angeles landmarks on display at The Getty's series of exhibits, Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A.

If you've ever heard yourself saying, "I love LA," or even if you've just heard the song, you really need to check out at least some portions of the Getty's Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A.

Not wanting to drive the 405 is no excuse – there are exhibits and events happening all over the L.A., from now until July 21. There's even some comedy thrown in for good measure.

Of course the main exhibit at the Getty Center is well worth struggling through traffic to attend. In Overdrive: L.A. Constructs the Future, 1940-1990, you'll learn the fascinating details of buildings you've probably noticed but taken for granted. There's probably not a single person in the city who hasn't been in at least one of these buildings, whether you're a resident or just visiting.

The exhibit at the Getty is mostly divided into five parts:

Car Culture: This focuses on unique L.A. buildings inspired by our love affair with the automobile — from the famous Googie style coffee shops and car washes to gas stations, car dealerships and drive-in theaters, and even a drive-in church.

Urban Networks: Believe it or not, transportation and water and power sources had a major influence on L.A. architecture, from the massive and unique freeway system to LAX to the famous Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Building.

Engines of Innovation: L.A.'s own particular industries played a major part in its modern architectural history, with fascinating buildings being designed and constructed for aerospace giants, the film and television industry, oil companies and the local universities.

Community Magnets: From Disneyland to Dodger Stadium, and including glaringly original museums, churches and concert halls in between, these buildings keep the City of Angels unified, cultured and competitive.

Residential Fabric: Perhaps no other aspect of L.A.'s unique modern architecture stands out more than its private residences. Whether they're "dingbat apartments" with garages on the first floor, or cubist forms leaning precariously over the Hollywood Hills, world-renowned architects like John Lautner and Frank Gehry made major contributions.

All of these segments will fascinate you, but if you really want to make the most of your time, arrange your schedule so you can visit on Sunday, June 9, when pop culture humorist and Californialand author Charles Phoenix will take you on a hilarious, Kodachrome tour of undiscovered architectural gems and legendary landmarks, going way on beyond Randy's Donuts. The performance is free, but reservations are required.

Of course there's bound to be some part of this four-month long event closer to your neck of the woods. There are corresponding events, presentations and exhibits happening in diverse places such as the Hammer Museum, the Huntington Library, Cal Poly Pomona, UC Santa Barbara, LACMA and MOCA, just to name a few.

Find out where and how you can get in on any of these events at

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