Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Frank Lloyd Wright’s only council building

It’s far from my favourite Frank Lloyd Wright building, but the views in this video from above and inside are highly illustrative, as is the discussion about Wright’s siting of (and what he gave primary importance to ) in his only civic building :

When Frank Lloyd Wright designed the Marin civic center in the 1950s, he was so ahead of his time that it was still being used to depict the future in a 1990s movie (Gattaca by Andrew Nicol, with Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke; it was also a location for George Lucas’ THX 1138).
Back in 1957, it took a determined supervisor, Vera Schultz, to recruit a 90-year-old architectural legend to design his first, and only, public building.
The county was also considering Richard Neutra who was willing to work for less than Wright. Wright was also refusing to level the three promontories on the site, knowing they could work for the building if left in place.
“There was one supervisor who was kind of a good old boy old school he wanted to get a local architect somebody who’d come up with a more traditional design,” explains Benjamin Berto who works in the building as a planner for the county of Marin.
The rest of the board saw the beauty in Wright’s design and this small Northern California County gained a world-renowned piece of architecture that fits into the land around it (Wright refused to level the site’s 3 promontories and instead made them work for the whole).


  1. So great. "This makes the employees tourists.." Public money well spent heh

  2. I know somebody who worked as an office junior in this building in the 1970s. To get around efficiently she was permitted to glide down the long corridors on roller-skates. Other than the occasional flood due to deluges the only difficulty with the building was the acoustics. Literally a sneeze carried from one end to the other. I understand this issue has been ameliorated in recent times. I am told that once you've worked in this building the memories tend to cling. Not only is the building a tribute to FLW but also to the civic leaders who championed and funded it. Chris R.


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