China Camp & the Marin Civic Center

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Thanks to a recommendation from Drew’s coworker, the boys and I spent a Saturday morning volunteering at China Camp State Park in Marin. In preparation for a fairly substantial trail renovation happening later this month, we contributed a few hours of clearing organic matter in the surrounding areas.

After, we headed to the nearby remnants of what was once a fairly robust, if insular, Chinese shrimp-fishing village.

On our way home, we passed by the Marin County Civic Center, the last building commissioned of Frank Lloyd Wright before his death. Of course we had to stop and do our (now) annual walk through of the grounds and building.

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And on to the Civic Center:

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One of the public balconies overlooks a private courtyard and fountain, backed with sweeping views into Marin’s hillside. All that running water almost made us feel like we were back in LA.

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With its tiered floors, the Civic Center feels reminiscent of the far more famous Guggenheim Museum in New York, but interestingly they serve vastly different programmatic needs. This building toggles between indoor and outdoor. The atrium is translucent but enclosed at the roof; but open and full of plants and even an auto driveway at the ground level.

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Like every FLW project, every detail is considered as part of the whole. The color palette (gold/brass and maroon on the interior; tan and blue on the exterior) is rigorously adhered to. The circular motif touches every element, from the exterior roof line to the elevator signage.

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Reminds me of a Wes Anderson movie set.

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