Marin Civic Center Celebrates 60th Anniversary – Marin Independent Journal | Ad On Picture

Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous Marin County Civic Center in San Rafael turns 60 this month.

County officials have planned an all-day celebration on October 13 to mark the anniversary on the day it opened in 1962. The event will include free docent-led tours, a cake cutting event, a panel discussion and other activities. Events begin at 10 a.m

“We wanted to create a day for the community that celebrates the building itself but allows people to experience the building in different ways,” said Libby Garrison, spokeswoman for the Department of Cultural Services.

From 10am to 4pm, visitors can enjoy a display of vintage cars from the same period the building was built, parked outside the south arch of the building opposite the post office.

There are guided tours of the building from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Members of the Marin Photography Club offer tips on photographing architecture.

“A lot of people who come are inspired by the beauty of the architecture, the lines, the arches,” Garrison said. “The experts will help you create the perfect Instagram post.”

From 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. there will be a panel discussion in the supervisory board room with employees of the district, who will talk about the work in the historic landmark.

A cake cutting and ceremony is scheduled for midday in the cafeteria garden. Terra Linda’s Heston Cakes is making a cake in the shape of the Civic Center building for the event. Local band County Crows play hits from the 1960s.

Visitors can enjoy a screening of “Gattaca” starring Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman and Jude Law under the Civic Center’s iconic dome. The Civic Center is part of the set for the 1997 sci-fi thriller. The screening starts at 3:30pm

A special exhibit celebrating the history and architecture is already on view at the Civic Center Library. Visitors can view the exhibit and participate in activities including crafts and a virtual scavenger hunt. An exhibition of best-selling 1962 books and films will also be available to borrow.

Carol Acquaviva, Librarian and Archivist, worked on the library exhibition and will moderate the panel discussion.

“I think it’s always important to step back and reflect on our history,” Acquaviva said. “We are very fortunate in Marin to have this Frank Lloyd Wright building. It is a gem for our county.”

Opened in 1957, the Civic Center would be Wright’s last and greatest public project.

When Wright first visited Marin, he said, according to the county, “You have some of the most beautiful scenery I’ve ever seen and I take pride in making this county’s buildings representative of the county’s beauty.” … Here is a critical opportunity to open the eyes of not just Marin County, but the nation as a whole, to what officers who gather could themselves do to expand and brighten human life.”

Bill Schwarz, an architect, serves as the architectural consultant for the Civic Center. He has spent more than 50 years improving and maintaining the county government building.

Schwarz said it was thanks to then-supervisor Vera Schultz and planning director Mary Summers that Wright was hired for the job. Schwarz said the county told Wright they would level the site to build the structure, but Wright wanted to take advantage of the natural topography.

“The result was a series of graceful arches and buildings on those arches, a vision he had within 15 minutes of being on site,” Schwarz said, noting that Wright was “a passionate American patriot” who built a government building wanted to erect that was welcoming to the community and was aesthetically pleasing.

“Well, can you imagine these hills without these wonderful buildings on them?” said Schwarz. “This building could not be built anywhere else. It’s poetic. A work of genius.”

He called the iconic spire “a solemn exclamation mark.”

As part of the celebrations, the spire will be illuminated for 60 nights. Visitors can also download the Frank Lloyd Wright Civic Center Tour app for self-guided tours.

Residents born on October 13, 1962 who attend may pick up a gift bag in the cafeteria garden.

The Civic Center became both a state and national historic landmark in 1991 and is one of 10 Frank Lloyd Wright sites nominated for the World Heritage List. Maintained by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the list recognizes the world’s cultural treasures and now includes 21 sites across the United States.

Friends of the Civic Center Library, Frank Lloyd Wright Civic Center Conservancy, Marin Photography Club, Jeff Craemer and Gustaf Rooth are co-sponsors of the event.

For more information, see bit.ly/3Rkg0uh.

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