Arranged like an outcropping of rock along the mountainside, the six separate structures of this museum complex also respond to the lines of the freeway and Los Angeles’ city grid below. Curvilinear walls and balconies appear to continue the contours of the topography. Fossilized Italian travertine echoes the natural rock of the surrounding hills, but is cut into square panels to respond to the geometries of the manmade environment.
The predominance of the travertine -- 1.2 million square feet of it were used – is in keeping with the historic use of stone to create monumental architecture. This massive public facility was commissioned in 1984 to house an eclectic cross-section of the world’s art.