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Getty Research Institute acquires 52 Lebbeus Woods drawings and a Los Angeles sketchbook
Drawing for A-City, Lebbeus Woods, ca. 1985–1986. Getty Research Institute, 2018.M.24. Acquired with partial support of the GRI Council. © Estate of Lebbeus Woods.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- 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 overestate,” 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.

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