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Less is still Meier

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Richard Meier's great white 'shining city on a hill' - the $1 billion J Paul Getty Centre overlooking Los Angeles - has opened with the usual fanfare of statistics so beloved by us prs. Forget the art for a moment, just marvel that the five pavilions set in more than 200ha of mountains at Santa Monica boast more than 100 shiploads of rough-hewn travertine marble from Italy (30,000 tonnes), 33,000 light fittings and 10,000 trees transplanted from other sites, and on a (rare) clear day from its vantage point above the smog, visitors can see 100 miles inland to snow-capped mountains. One commentator thought the art emporium 'too good for Los Angeles', which Meier took to mean, 'unlike anything else in the city'. How very true.

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