When the Getty Center opened in 1997, it was at the cutting edge of risk engineering. The Center is the showpiece of the J. Paul Getty Trust, the world‘s largest cultural and philanthropic organization dedicated to the visual arts. Perched on 110 acres in the Santa Monica Mountains, the Getty Center incorporates modern design, beautiful gardens and spectacular views of Los Angeles.
The Center’s construction was well ahead of its time. Sophisticated fire and earthquake protection hide beneath the distinctive travertine stone. Pioneering earthquake technology, 1 million gallons of water stored on-site and a cutting-edge smoke ventilation system help protect the Center and its irreplaceable art collection and art historical archives.
And that commitment to risk engineering hasn’t wavered. As the buildings aged, the Getty Center turned to FM Global, tapping into our vast engineering knowledge to help stay ahead of the curve. FM Global engineers review safety plans and apply the latest thinking to earthquake bracing and fire protection.
“FM Global is in a much better position to know what the best solution is because of all the properties they insure,” explains Linda Somerville, the Getty’s risk manager. “They offer us an extra set of very competent eyes as we constantly look to improve and prevent.”
All that work to stay at the forefront of safety and protection paid off during last year’s California wildfires. The fires came within a few hundred yards of the property. But thanks in part to the on-site water supply, the ventilation system and the work of California firefighters, the Getty Center stayed just out of harm’s way. “It’s a continuous effort,” Somerville adds, “but we are still ahead of our time.”