Marin County Civic Center

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I have been driving past this strange building on the 101 for almost a year now, on the way to mountain biking in Marin, or other outdoorsy activities. I suspected it was a Mosque (unlikely though), a stadium, or perhaps some sort of edifice to Scientology. But I was wrong; in fact, it’s the Marin County Civic Center, and the final commission from Frank Lloyd Wright; at the time aged 90.

Composed of sets of circles, I am reminded of an enormous Mexican hacienda landed from space, completed with Arabic detailing. I can’t help but imagine that this is what municipal buildings are like in Brazilia and other emergent South American nations. In short, the design left me a bit confused, and slightly put-off by the 2D-like projection of the shapes on the side of the building.

What was more of a pleasure was peering through the windows to the still-working offices and meeting rooms. Spaces filled with mid-century furniture and desks still unadorned with computers, this place is a bit of a time-warp. While grubby and a bit worn out, I would still love to see the place when properly open to the public.

Details work well from a medium distance, but seem a little tacked together.

Lauryn, sneaking past the security cordon to go check out the offices.

I found the forms more pleasing on the internal structures

View from one of the landscaped hills that surround the building.

The quasi-religious spire at the southern end of the complex

Pleasing details

Origami folds

Geometric details

Circles repeated everywhere


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