January 17, 2020

Getty Research Institute Acquires 52 Lebbeus Woods Drawings And A Los Angeles Sketchbook

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Amy Hood
310 440-6427
Getty Communications



Selections from the Los Angeles sketchbook, Lebbeus Woods, 1986–1988. Getty Research Institute, 2018.M.25. Gift of The Woods Edge Partnership. © Estate of Lebbeus Woods


LOS ANGELES – The Getty Research Institute announced today that it has acquired a two-part collection of drawings and sketches by renowned architect Lebbeus Woods (American, 1940-2012).

          “The Getty Research Institute’s architectural holdings are especially strong in 20th-century avant-garde architects such as Lebbeus Woods. These distinctive examples of Woods’ unique vision will no doubt be inspiring to researchers working in our collections,” said Mary Miller, director of the Getty Research Institute. “We are grateful to the Getty Research Institute Council for supporting the acquisition of the Lebbeus Woods drawings.”

          This two-part collection of drawings and sketches represents a powerful postwar critique of architecture and a radical reimagining of the urban environment. The materials will provide scholars and researchers valuable insight on a theoretical architect known for detailed renderings that serve as striking statements of his philosophy.

          Acquired with partial support of the Getty Research Institute Council, the 46 drawings for Lebbeus Woods’s A-City and 4 Cities and Beyond projects (ca. 1982–1997) establish a distopian vision for an alternate world. Though fragmentary, each drawing puts on display the totality of Woods’s urbanistic fantasies, constituting a conceptual masterplan for the projects’ development. In addition, the Getty Research Institution has recently received a donation of 6 more drawings belonging to the series A-City, making the series complete.

A 30-page sketchbook that Woods kept during one of his many visits to Los Angeles illustrates both the architect’s working process and, through handwritten notes, his various lines of thinking on the city and on the production of cinema-stage representations.

          “As a teacher who linked drawing to theory, Lebbeus Woods’ influence on generations of architects is difficult to overstate,” said Maristella Casciato, senior curator of architecture at the Getty Research Institute. “With these acquisitions, the Getty Research Institute is the largest repository for Lebbeus Woods’ theoretical thinking on the city.”

Both the collections of drawings and the sketchbook are complemented by two significant holdings already in the GRI’s special collections: Lebbeus Woods Drawings for the Berlin Free Zone Project (1990) and Lebbeus Woods Journals, 1988–1997.




Getty is a leading global arts organization committed to the exhibition, conservation, and understanding of the world’s artistic and cultural heritage.  Working collaboratively with partners around the globe, the Getty Foundation, Getty Conservation Institute, Getty Museum and Getty Research Institute are all dedicated to the greater understanding of the relationships between the world’s many cultures.  The Los Angeles-based J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs share art, knowledge, and resources online at and welcome the public for free at the Getty Center and the Getty Villa.

The Getty Research Institute is an operating program of the J. Paul Getty Trust. It serves education in the broadest sense by increasing knowledge and understanding about art and its history through advanced research. The Research Institute provides intellectual leadership through its research, exhibition, and publication programs and provides service to a wide range of scholars worldwide through residencies, fellowships, online resources, and a Research Library. The Research Library—housed in the 201,000-square-foot Research Institute building designed by Richard Meier—is one of the largest art and architecture libraries in the world. The general library collections (secondary sources) include almost 900,000 volumes of books, periodicals, and auction catalogues encompassing the history of Western art and related fields in the humanities. The Research Library’s special collections include rare books, artists’ journals, sketchbooks, architectural drawings and models, photographs, and archival materials.

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