Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Observatory Is Back

The Griffith Observatory is scheduled to reopen in November, after a long period of renovation. The history of the Observatory is intimately meshed with that of Los Angeles. Set on a hill, the landmark offers exceptional views of the city, and defines its skyline together with the Hollywood sign.
Built in the 1930s, the Observatory started as a serious scientific venture. But the city's growth, increasing pollution and subsequent smog undermined its astrological aspirations. The site reinvented itself as a tourist attraction, combining stunning architecture with breakthrough scientific exhibits.
A detour via Wikipedia and the observatory's website provides interesting tidbits. For instance, the planetarium was used in WW2 to train pilots on celestial navigation. The site also appeared in famous movies such as Rebel Without a Cause. In Terminator, it became an integral character in the powerful scene where Arnold falls back into the 20th Century.
As part of the renovation, the new Griffith Observatory will provide expanded amenities and exhibit space. It will be a pleasure to visit the site again -- for its scientific content, architectural interest, and of course goldious vistas.
photo Al Seib, LAT archives & Kirk McKoy/LAT
[edit: reviews in NYT & LAT]

No comments: