Exterior of the building
The more I’ve seen of Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs, the more I’m convinced he was an interior designer at heart who happened to get tasked with architecture. His interiors are always unique and playful, but the exteriors are almost offensively boring.
It’s certainly true of the Marin County Civic Center. From the outside it mostly looks like a big mess of arches, as though a bridge builder lost his or her mind.
Stepping inside though it’s a completely different story; while it certainly has some of the look of a mid-century government building, the giant skylights and lush indoor gardens give off relaxing vibe. Pretty much the opposite of what most of us have come to expect from our interactions with government offices and courthouses.
I should point out that part of the secret to the building’s success is how well it’s maintained. It’d be much cheaper to let entropy take its toll and allow the gardens die or turn into weeds. Instead they’re watered, pruned, etc.
A number of tourists were wandering around in there snapping photos just as I was. Not much was going on since it was the day after July 4th, and the county fair was in full swing outside.
On my way out I walked through a gallery of painted portraits for sale. I recognized a couple of the people, but this one in particular seemed appropriate as he’s one of the more famous people in Marin County: George Lucas.