There aren’t too many places in Southern California, let alone in the world, that combine the arts, history, nature, and pedagogy. On April 4th, the Steven S. Koblik Education and Visitor Center at The Huntington will become a site worth frequenting for individuals of all ages.
Undoubtedly, the appeal of the San Marino-based attraction stretches wide, figuratively and literally. The $68-million, 52,000-square-footed establishment—which came together as a result of gifts and pledges alone—will attract five types of audiences, according to President of The Huntington, Koblik, whose name is eponymous with the new center. They are teachers, students, scholars, the official members of The Huntington and, of course, the general public.
Certainly, teachers and students will be more at home than ever with the four classrooms that have been installed to support K-12 educational aims in Southern California, especially on the subject of Biology. Scholars will be able to use the library of materials and the art collection to further their research. Likewise, the members and the general public will have the opportunity to attend lectures and performances (many of them free) while enjoying the luxurious amenities on the grounds.
Furthermore, visitors who have an eye for design and layout will appreciate how the buildings and gardens seamlessly complement one another. For Stephen Farneth and Cheryl Barton, the principal architects, the goal has always been about landscape functionality, having buildings independent of each other, yet integrated as part of a larger whole. The conception of the center, for Farneth, was also about keeping in line with the fact that it is in SoCal and thus people particularly want “outdoor space that will serve academic and social activities.” Even the gardens were seeded with SoCal in mind. “It’s not just about roses and lawn; we have color, movement, plants in their natural California habitat, and gardens that are not only low-water but drought-tolerant,” explained landscape construction coordinator, Scott Kleinrock.
Any visitor will also want to check out the 400-seat auditorium that is an acoustical masterwork with carved wall panels and fabric that are conducive to the best and most resounding sound. Serving a versatile purpose, the auditorium will house light-hearted fare, such as plays and concerts, in addition to interesting multidisciplinary lectures, in the coming months and years. Similarly, the breathtaking dome courtyard is also acoustically fashioned to prevent echoing. Not to mention, it is a prime location to lounge and cool off during hot summer days, as it is usually ten degrees cooler than its surroundings.
For history buffs who want to learn more about the olden days of Southern California, Henry Huntington is as good a historical figure as any to be informed about—and the center’s orientation gallery has many photos, short films, and information on Huntington’s impact on land development and the Southern California railway system as we know it today.
Last but not least, foodies will be pleased to know that not only is there a coffee shop at the entrance, but a café that offers a salad bar, sandwiches, oven-fired pizza, and wine! Best of all, the outdoor-dining seating is oriented in such a way as to allow visitors optimal views of the beautiful and eye-catching scenery!
For more information, visit: http://tinyurl.com/pxuek4p
Address: 1151 Oxford Rd., San Marino, CA 91108
Photo credit: Tim Street-Porter
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