The Center

Sunnylands Center is open free to the public and offers free parking Thursday through Sunday. At the 17,000-square-foot building, visitors can learn more about Sunnylands and about Walter and Leonore Annenberg and their commitment to serving their country, and to philanthropy, education, and the arts.  
 
Visitors can enjoy an orientation film in the theater, informational panels and videos, and selections of art from the Sunnylands Collection. The Center is surrounded by an unusual garden where visitors can explore 1.25 miles of garden paths that wind throughout Sunnylands Gardens. A free one-hour guided garden walk that covers design, sustainability, and desert plants is offered Thursday at 11:00 a.m. from November through April. No reservations are needed. 
 
Visitors who have preregistered and paid for a tour of the historic house or for one of our bird-watching tours meet their guides and begin their tours at Sunnylands Center. Tickets for the daily Open-Air Experience, a tour of the estate's grounds, are purchased at the Center, too. 
 
See or print a Sunnylands Center guide here.  
Por favor ver la Guía del Centro en Español aqui.

 

The Architecture of Sunnylands Center

Although Leonore Annenberg did not live to see the Center's completion, it was influenced by her vision. The Los Angeles architectural firm of Frederick Fisher & Partners, which has restored three houses by the estate’s original architect, A. Quincy Jones, references the midcentury modern style of the historic house, with its signature roof, outdoor trellises, exposed wide-flanged columns, and circular driveway. 
 
The Center's two 16-foot-high lava-stone walls, quarried in Utah, are an homage to the 11-foot lava-stone walls from Mexico used by A. Quincy Jones in the historic house. The walls create a grand frame for the Center's interior space.  
 

A Living Room for the Public

Santa Monica designer Michael Smith, who furnished the private living quarters of the White House for President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama, is the Center's interior designer. Smith emulates the aesthetic of the historic house and the concepts of its original designers, William Haines and Ted Graber.

Smith crafted a relaxing public space with the atmosphere of a grand living room. "It's not imitating the house in any way," Smith explains. "It's just instilled with the feel of some of the elements. It frames your experience as a visitor." 
 
Two rectangular groupings of beige sofas and chairs, and wooden coffee and side tables sit symmetrically on a custom terrazzo floor between lava-stone walls. Bronze and marble sculptures from the Sunnylands Collection are on display in the Center, including ones by Alberto Giacometti, Auguste Rodin, Jean Arp, and Yaacov Agam.