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_   J. Paul Getty Center
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J. Paul Getty Center
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Vital Statistics:
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA
Completion Date: 1997
Cost: $6 billion
Materials: Steel, concrete
Engineer(s): Robert Englekirk Consulting Structural Engineers, Inc.

After 14 years of planning, design, and construction, the J. Paul Getty Center in Los Angeles opened to the public in December of 1997. An enormous visual arts complex consisting of six major buildings of various geometric shapes, the Getty Center is truly an engineering marvel.

J. Paul Getty Center
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When construction began in 1989, architects, engineers, and builders did not fully grasp the complexity of the construction site. But in 1994, engineers were in for a rude awakening. An earthquake rattled and shook their near-complete complex to pieces. They had no choice but to strengthen the complex and make it totally quake-proof. So for the next six months, builders reinforced nearly every inch of the Getty Complex with structural steel -- a necessary move that added at least $50 million to construction costs.

Today, the Getty Center boasts two main attractions: the J. Paul Getty Center Museum and the Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities.

Fast Facts:
  • More than 1.5 million cubic yards of earth was moved for construction of the Getty Center.
  • Visitors must use a 3/4-mile-long tram line beginning at the 1,200-space parking garage at the bottom of the hill to reach the center.

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