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Around the courtyard will be a coffee shop serving various coffees, teas, gelatos and light snacks, and the new expanded gift shop — at 5,000 square feet, it’s twice the size of the old one — will have a skylight. Oakland-based Miroglio Architecture + Design is creating the look for sections offering stationery, garden decorations and supplies, books, jewelry and other gift items. “We wanted the store to have its own character, but architecturally relate to the rest of the project,” Sowd says. The new center, she explains, accomplishes several important goals: “to provide wonderful spaces for our rich educational programs for all ages — lectures, classes, symposia; to improve visitor amenities like food service, the retail store and orientation; and to enrich the experience of all our guests by establishing a more immediate connection with the estate and its history through the entry sequence and a series of new gardens.” Phase one includes the ticket counters, coffee shop, gift shop and open-air plaza. In April, the rest of the center will open with the completion of multipurpose rooms, a covered garden court, an auditorium seating 400, a boardroom, a large cafeteria and an orientation center. This center will explain the history of the estate and the lives of Henry and Arabella through photographs, videos and text, as well as provide visitors a guide to what’s happening on the grounds and in the museums. That facility, as well as 36 | ARROYO | 01.15

other parts of the visitor center, is free to all, with or without a ticket. In the new configuration, visitors enjoy a clear path from the entrance down to the gardens, a view previously blocked by the ticketing facilities. As one enters the grounds, the stately Beaux Arts house, former home to the Huntingtons and now the Huntington Art Gallery, will be to the distant right. The gallery displays one of the country’s finest collections of 18th- and 19th-century British and French art, and houses two famous

Profile for Southland Publishing

Arroyo Monthly January 2015  

The beauty issue

Arroyo Monthly January 2015  

The beauty issue

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