Marin County Civic Center

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Marin County Civic Center (1957, San Rafael, California)

The Marin County Civic Center is one of the last major works of Frank Lloyd Wright’s career and his only realized project for a government entity. An innovative design that simultaneously houses in one structure all of the functions of county government and serves as a focal point for civic and cultural engagement, it dramatically illustrates the kinship of architecture to the surrounding landscape with long horizontal buildings that gracefully link the crowns of three separate hills. Wright boldly projected the main government building as a bridge joining one hill to the next with a series of graceful arches sheltered under barrel-vaulted roofs. Its forms and colors relate it to surrounding hills and to the mountains of the Coastal Range in the distance. The building combines multiple elements into a unified structure linked by an internal, sky-lit, and multistory galleria.