Richard Meier & Partners Architects LLP

San Jose City Hall

San Jose, California

1998 - 2005

The San Jose City Hall is the centerpiece of a seven-block redevelopment district of new and existing buildings unified through streets, walkways, plazas, courtyards, and fountains. Buildings in the surrounding district will include a new performance hall, elementary school, rebuilt church, a joint library shared by the city and university, and two public parking garages. The project comprises an eighteen-story office building to house the city departments, the city council chambers, a major civic rotunda, an exterior plaza, and below-grade parking.

The focal point of the sweeping public plaza is a transparent domed entry serving as a visible symbol of the city government as well as the main point of entry. The glass rotunda, while of a more contemporary form and materials, is reminiscent of traditional domes of important public buildings and can accommodate large public events such as lectures, concerts, and exhibitions. The curved wall defining the main plaza, together with the rotunda space, acts to unify all components of the facility.

The rotunda is complemented on the east side by the office tower, which houses city departments and the plaza-level permit center, and on the west side by the three-story council wing, which houses the city council chambers, public meeting rooms, retail spaces, and additional departmental offices. A grand staircase in the rotunda leads to the prominently located city council chambers, which are also accessible along a walkway of exterior steps that follows the plan of the plaza wall.

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