CLIENT: City of Culver City
Architect of Record:
Gonzalez Goodale Architects
The brief of this successful invited design competition required a Mediterranean Revival architectural expression.
While embracing the indoor/outdoor spirit of the required style, the competition solution focused more intently on the creation of public space - including a Civic Square, a perambulating, cypress-lined Heritage Garden in the footprint of the former city hall, and a block-long outdoor Public Gallery that accesses two internal atria and all departments of the City.
The insistent rhythms of this Public Gallery, its spatial depth, and the tectonics of its construction, give the City Hall its distinctive presence in the cityscape.
Convenience parking - in a challenge to the competition brief's call for 'visitor surface parking' - is located in a subterranean garden, with ready, daylit access to the Civic Square, (a Square that would have been spatially impossible with the space requirements of surface parking).
Public artists were fully integrated into the architectural design process. The pieces included May Sun's whale-form composition within Heritage Garden's reflecting pool; Barbara McCarren's inscriptions on civic philosophy on the brick walls lining the Garden; Ed Carpenter's central glass piece at the entry; and Blue McRight's collage of paintings the City Council lobby.
Nearly 20 years on, the landscape over parking structure - in collaboration with Rabben Herman Design - continues to interact with the architecture to provide a 24/7 civic sanctuary and socializing space for Culver City's residents.