26 Jan Frank Lloyd Wright’s Civic Center Captured on Film by Skyler Dahan
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Civic Center Captured on Film by Skyler Dahan
Skyler Dahan, an LA-based photographer, has captured Frank Lloyd Wright’s Civic Center, in Marin County. Shot on Kodak Portra film with a Contax 645 medium format camera, the series of images highlight Frank Lloyd Wright’s latest commission. Serving as a justice hall, the project was actually completed by Wright’s protégé Aaron Green after the architect’s death.
Located in San Rafael, California, the Marin County Civic Center is Frank Lloyd Wright’s largest public project. Not only limiting himself to the architecture, Wright also designed the door, the signs, furniture, and every last detail. Wright was selected for the commission in 1957, and the project was approved in April 1958. Upon his death, Aaron Greene and his son-in-law William Wesley Peters continued with the construction.
The moment I stepped foot inside I instantly felt transported back to the 60s. All the details echoed throughout every inch of the building. From the buttons on the elevators to the phone booths, to the long hallways covered with arcs, to the calm courtyards, it felt less like a civic center and more like a museum. — Skyler Dahan.
With a notable bright blue roof, initially planned to be gold, the structure is innovative in the sense that it brings together steel and concrete surfaces and supports cantilevering parts of the project. The center spaces in each of the two dominant buildings grow wider as they rise higher. The dome linking both structures houses the Board of Supervisors of Marin County and the Public Library. One of the wings houses the unique curved courtrooms, which became an example for courthouses across the country, while the other wing is home to the administration offices.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Place and considered to be a National Historic Landmark especially for California, the Marin County Civic Center brings architecture closer to nature and to its users. Skyler Dahan first encountered the building while on a hike trip. Although the photographer believes that shooting on film is limiting, he argues that the authentic look of film pays homage to a time in which the building was conceived.