137. Marin County Civic Center

The Marin County Civic Center is a Frank Lloyd Wright icon and one of his last and most famous public projects. It is both a state and national historic landmark, and you can explore it and find out all its special details and history through the weekly Wednesday guided tour or through the self-guided tour any time. (I love the old photo above that’s from the mid-60’s – it gives perfect context for the era when it was built.)

Anyone who has driven on 101 through San Rafael has seen its blue dome and long horizontal blue roofs above the arches along the exterior walls. Inside, the light streams down the middle spine into the atriums down below giving natural light to both the upper and lower floors.

The materials, color palette and layout are pretty much unchanged since the initial designs were built in the ’60’s. It definitely has a throw-back feeling, kind-of Jetsonish, in a really good way. So, it doesn’t come as a surprise to learn that George Lucas used this building as the model for the buildings on the planet Naboo in his Star Wars films.

Where: 3501 Civic Center Drive, San Rafael, CA 94903 (map)

Tour Day/Time: Wednesdays at 10:30 – 11:30

Tour Meeting Place: The 2nd floor Cafe, Room 233

Cost: $5.00/person

Groups of 10 or more can call ahead to arrange a private docent led tour.

Phone: 415.499.7009 (Visitor Services Office)

Civic Center Tours web page

About Anne Mosnier Kennedy (374 Articles)
Real Estate Broker / Cal-Haas MBA / Architect / Real Estate Investment Instructor

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