• North America
  • Libraries and archives
  • 1990-1999

The Getty Research Institute for the History of Art and the Humanities

Los Angeles, US


The library of the Getty Research Institute for the History of Art and the Humanities in Los Angeles holds 700,000 volumes, including books, auction catalogues, almost 2 million photographs, specialist archives, and other ephemera and rare materials related to the history of art and the humanities. A permanent gallery is devoted to the rarest specimens in the library’s collections, and other galleries show temporary exhibits.

Building project and Exhibition design: Jon Frishman and Richard Stoner, Richard Meier & Partners Architects, New York

The challenge

The prestige of the institution and its designer, the delicate nature of the materials – such as papers - and Los Angeles’ high level of atmospheric pollution made this a challenging project for Goppion to take on. The cases had to provide state of the art capabilities in conservation, lighting, and display mechanisms. The successful resolution of complex challenges for this project is emblematic of our company and highlights Goppion’s engineering excellence and depth of experience.

The solution

Goppion devised a mechanic-electrical opening system for the large wall display cases. Powered by a remote-controlled electric motor, a series of articulated hinges shift the pivot of the case door away from its striking surface and clear of its enclosing niche, enabling opening without compromising performance or design. The majority of the opening load is carried by a single four-bar hinge on the bottom of the door, giving curators exceptionally easy access to the case interior. The doors are retained by a system of specially shaped interlocked levers that hook onto fixed pins positioned along the perimeter of the door. The curved levers powerfully and uniformly pull against the pins, compressing the door and its gaskets to ensure an airtight seal. Table display cases use a two-armed pantograph system for vertical translation of the glass bonnet that gives curators unfettered access to the display environment within. Goppion also designed an innovative fiber-optic lighting system using ferrules with variable focal length to permit flexible, individual adjustment of each case’s lighting.

Project data

Exhibition units: 12; length of exhibit fronts: 23 m