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The Art Deco Architecture of the Griffith Observatory

Feb 22, 2023 | Architect, Art Deco Architecture, Custom Lighting, Featured Professional, Featured Projects, Lighting, Los Angeles

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Regardless of where you stand to view the Griffith Observatory, its Art Deco architecture we know is as impressive as ever. Let’s explore some facts about the Griffith Observatory before discussing its iconic Art Deco architectural style.

The Griffith Observatory took almost three years to build before it opened on May 14, 1935. Griffith J. Griffith, a wealthy philanthropist and now the observatory’s namesake, gave the funds to build this iconic project. 

The Griffith Observatory has many impressive telescopes. Some of its latest additions include a twelve-inch Zeiss refracting telescope and a sixty-inch reflective telescope. In 2002, the Griffith Observatory did some major renovations, which included an underground space exhibit and a planetarium. 

Another exhibit that has caught the attention of locals and tourists is the Foucault pendulum, which demonstrates the earth’s rotation. Fascinating! There are many programs and fascinating exhibits for the public to attend, including free telescope viewing and star-gazing parties.

As with many other iconic buildings in the Los Angeles area, the Griffith Observatory is also a movie star, used as a location for filming hit movies such as “Rebel Without a Cause,” “La La Land,” “Transformers,” and umpteen other films and television shows. The Griffith Observatory’s handsome Art Deco exterior is partially to blame for its movie star status.

Art Deco architecture was very popular during the 1920s and 1930s. This style also uses clean lines, geometric shapes, and futuristic (or sometimes modernist) flair.

When admiring the Griffith Observatory, notice how the Art Deco architectural style is incorporated into its design, especially in the striking geometric forms and the clean lines built into the stylized decorative motifs…almost as if they were being presented.

Admission to the Griffith Observatory is free, but if you are interested in the planetarium shows, there is a nominal admission fee.

Photo Credit: School of Visual Arts

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