Frank Lloyd Wright's Last Great Project Turns 50

John King looks at how Wright's Marin County Civic Center, which the architect described as a "three-dimensional essay on the relationship between government and governed," has stood the test of time.

Designed in 1959, near the end of Wright's life, the Civic Center is described by Victor Sidy, dean of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture in Arizona, as no less than "a true realization of his ideals about society."

Although some aspects of the building have not weathered well - its roof has leaked almost from the start - King describes it as "that rarest of buildings: a popular favorite that also holds lessons for architectural scholars." 

"His creation indeed is organic," says King, "sumptuous curves poured across the landscape beneath a long low sky-blue roof, yet futuristic enough that the building was used as a set in the science-fiction movies 'Gattaca' and 'THX-1138.' Above all else it is confident - embracing at once the natural setting of the tumbling hills and the imposed potential of a structure where citizens can check out a book, go on trial, get married and grab a quick lunch."

Full Story: At 50, Marin Civic Center comes of age

Comments

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $16.95 a month
Book cover of Contemporary Debates in Urban Planning

Contemporary Debates in Urban Planning

Featuring thought-provoking commentary and insights from some of the leading thinkers and practitioners in the field.
$18.95
T-shirt with map of Chicago

Show your city pride

Men's Ultrasoft CityFabric© tees. Six cities available.
$23.00