14th Annual Smithsonian.com Photo Contest
Functional Art-Deco Architecture. The Griffith Observatory - Hollywood- CA
Functional Art-Deco Architecture. The Griffith Observatory - Hollywood - California.
Completed and first opened in May of 1935 on donated land in a bequest from Col. Griffith J. Griffith - the Observatory was importantly used to train WWII pilots in celestial navigation and again in the 1960's to train Apollo Space Program astronauts in concert with nearby CalTech's (JPL) Jet Propulsion Laboratory - engineers who also pioneered the Lunar Rover.
The functional nature of the observatory and telescopes means a curious eyelid opening - which houses the original twelve-inch (305 mm) Zeiss refracting telescope in the East Dome. The dome's mechanics are integrated into the engineering of the building and wrapped in a classic art deco which still works today both visually and functionally. It transforms what would otherwise be a massively heavy task of accurate celestial optics into a gracefully smooth platform. Able to be used both during the daytime - Solar and nighttime - for stars and planet observations. The typical early overcast haze gave way to great clouds in a trademark Southern California blue sky day.
A noted historic landmark, this location has featured in many Hollywood movies and television shows including James Dean's Rebel Without a Cause (1955) and Arnold Schwarzenegger's The Terminator (1984), Terminator Salvation (2009), Terminator Genisys (2015). For T.V - Keeping up with the Kardashians on E! and Dancing with the Stars -opening performance for season premiere of U.S. season 23, (2016).
This image captured on a Hasselblad 500CM using Zeiss 4/40mm T* Optics and a Hasselblad CVF50C Digital Back.
© Douglas Donnelly.
All rights reserved.
||The American Experience
||Oct. 10, 2016, 2:59 p.m.