A place that is distinguishable in mind and memory from all other places."
Dedicated in 1990, the Beverly Hills Civic Center playfully and dramatically expands on City Hall's Spanish Renaissance architecture. Curved colonnades frame the approaches to the renovated and expanded City Hall, library and police and fire departments, creating a public space that is both mysterious and welcoming.
Lush gardens of palm trees, numerous balconies and stairways create a unique sense of place. The colorful tile flourishes echo City Hall's tiled dome. A series of elliptical courtyards connect the city's buildings across Rexford Drive "like beads on a string" as the architect described it.
The $110 million renovation project began in 1982 with a contest. Six prominent architects (including Frank Gehry Disney Hall) submitted designs. The winner, chosen in a blind selection process, was Charles Willard Moore of Urban Innovations Group.
Charles Moore (1925-1993) was born in Benton Harbor, Michigan. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1947 with a degree in architecture and received a Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1957. He taught architecture for most of his career at various universities including Yale, UC Berkeley and UCLA. His approach to architecture was humanistic and attempted to create what he called "a place that is distinguishable in mind and memory from other places." Other notable Moore buildings include Sea Ranch Condominiums in Sonoma County, Kresge College at UC Santa Cruz and Burns House in Santa Monica Canyon.