Frank Lloyd Wright's futuristic Civic Center creation now has its own app – Marin Independent Journal

For out-of-city guests, the futuristic Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Marin Civic Center is a curious roadside attraction. It seems like a NASA house station constructed within the contours of the Marin hills, and actually it was forged as an area exploration company within the 1997 sci-fi film “Gattaca” and because the dystopian setting for George Lucas’ 25th century social science thriller “THX-1138.”

As trippy as individuals discover the constructing on the surface, they'll simply get misplaced in house on the within. The county’s administrative and judicial headquarters has been described as resembling a ,200-foot skyscraper laid on its facet, and even workers who've been working in its labyrinth of an identical-wanting hallways for many years have been identified to get off the elevator on the flawed ground.

“This constructing is considerably tough to navigate should you’re looking for an workplace or a courtroom for jury responsibility or should you’re trying to pay your property taxes or get a constructing allow or a wedding license,” stated Libby Garrison, advertising and marketing and communications coordinator for the county’s division of cultural providers.

That’s one cause the departments of cultural providers and knowledge providers and know-how developed a brand new civic middle cell app that may be downloaded on iPhones or Android smartphones and used as a handheld information to the corridor of justice and the county’s administrative places of work.

Cellular system

“It’s a cell system that helps you discover your approach inside the constructing itself,” Garrison stated. “It provides you a 360-degree tour so you may orient your self a bit bit higher whenever you’re on website and searching for a sure factor.”

However this app is rather more than a governmental GPS. It additionally showcases the visionary design and historical past of one among Wright’s remaining creations, an forward-of-its-time constructing individuals come from all around the world to see.

“There’s not a complete lot of knowledge on the market for people who find themselves structure or historical past buffs and need to be taught extra in regards to the constructing,” Garrison stated. “It’s a extremely vital constructing and Marin County ought to be proud that it’s right here.”

Wright didn’t stay lengthy sufficient to see the completion of the one authorities constructing of his lengthy and fabled profession. A 12 months after he unveiled preliminary designs for the Civic Center in March 1959, predicting it will be “a cornerstone within the tradition of the nation,” he handed away on the age of 91 at his winter house, Taliesin West, in Phoenix, Arizona, now the primary campus of the Frank Lloyd Wright College of Structure and the Frank Lloyd Wright Basis. The administration wing opened in 1962 and corridor of justice in 1969.


Garrison introduced in Andrew Pielage from the Wright Basis to take new and dramatic images of the Civic Center’s exterior, inside and unique landscaping. The app additionally features a self-guided tour with 9 beacons that present factors of curiosity, classic images, dramatic drone videography, architectural plans and blueprints and historic details about Wright’s historical past in Marin.

Girls visionaries

Not everybody preferred Wright or his far-out architectural plans. Vera Schultz, Marin’s first girl supervisor, and planning director Mary Summers, the county’s first feminine division head, have been the champions of his controversial challenge.

“If it was not for these two uber highly effective ladies the Civic Center wouldn’t look because it seems as we speak,” Garrison stated. “That they had an unwavering imaginative and prescient to make it occur.”

Their dedication ultimately overcame the vehement opposition of Supervisor William Fusselman, a pacesetter of the nice previous boy community that dominated county authorities within the 1950s.

“Fusselman was satisfied that Wright was a communist,” Garrison stated. “He tried to close the constructing down plenty of instances.”

Enjoyable factoids

The app tells the fascinating story of this distinctive public constructing in digestible bits and blurbs.

Listed here are a couple of:

• The Civic Center is understood for its sky blue roof, however Wright initially needed it to be painted gold to match the golden hills of Marin. Within the 1960s, although, a gold paint that wouldn’t tarnish nearly instantly had not but been invented.

• After the architect’s loss of life, his widow, Olgivanna, picked out a blue colour for the roof just like the shade of the tiles in a church her husband designed in Wisconsin.

• The constructing’s signature 172-foot, three-sided golden spire violated county peak limits, however Wright advised county supervisors it was crucial as a radio antenna for the sheriff’s division. It was really meant to be a type of architectural exclamation mark. “Basically, it’s an exhaust system for the constructing,” Garrison stated. “Mainly it’s a smokestack.”

• The workplace furnishings was designed by Wright and constructed by inmates at San Quentin and Soledad state prisons.

• The Civic Center’s scalloped arches aren’t actually arches. In keeping with Wright, they’re “hanging crescents.” They impressed the constructing’s ornamental round components and small gold spheres alongside the eaves.

• The entry stairs have low, 4-inch risers designed to encourage individuals to enter the constructing slowly to understand the design. Wright additionally needed the low-slope stairs to facilitate swish motion and stop huffing and puffing.

• All workplace areas have no less than one supply of pure mild, both from home windows or skylights.

• “You may have one of the stunning landscapes I've seen,” Wright stated upon visiting Marin for the primary time. “And I'm proud to make the buildings of this county attribute of the great thing about the county.”

The free app is downloadable in English and Spanish from the iTunes App Retailer and Google Play Retailer for all cell gadgets, together with cell phones and tablets. Docent-led excursions of the Civic Center are at 10:30 a.m. Wednesdays and 10:30 a.m. Fridays between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

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Frank Lloyd Wright's futuristic Civic Center creation now has its own app - Marin Independent Journal