Address
3501 Civic Center Dr, San Rafael, CA 94903
Year Constructed
1962
Year Retrofitted
1991
Structural Engineering Firm(s)
Structural Engineer(s)
Architect(s)
Frank Lloyd Wright, Crosby Group
Main Contractor
Rothschild, Raffin and Weirick, Kitchell
Media
Marin County Civic Center - Aerial View
Marin County Civic Center - Aerial View
Source: Google Earth
Marin County Civic Center
Marin County Civic Center
Marin County Civic Center
Marin County Civic Center
Marin County Civic Center - Interior
Marin County Civic Center - Interior
Source: Fizbin
Structure Description

The Marin County Civic Center is a four-story concrete shear wall building constructed in 1962.  The building is 80 feet wide and consists of two wings, 580 feet and 880 feet long, joined at a 120 degree angle. The original structural engineer of record was Irvan F. Mendenhall of DMJM in Los Angeles. The structure underwent a seismic retrofit by SOHA Engineers following the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

Significance to Structural Engineering History in Northern California

The structure serves as the county services center for Marin County and is the last building designed by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright.  This was Wright’s largest public project, but he died in 1959, before its completion. The building’s primary architecture is circular, featuring sweeping archways of various sizes at each level and a 80-foot diameter rotunda joining the two wings.  The roof also consists of arch construction. The very distinctive architecture and blue roof are observable from Highway 101.

Awards
  • National Historic Landmark (1991)
  • National Registers of Historic Places (1991)
  • California Historical Landmark (1991)
Interesting Facts
  • George Lucas used the structure for inspiration for the architecture on the planet Naboo in the Star Wars Universe. The structure has also appeared in the science fiction films THX 1138 and Gattaca.
  • The spire and rotunda profile are part of the Marin County logo.
External Links