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Mountain View City Hall, Mountain View, CA

Architect : Turnbull and Associates

Completed: 1991

The new city hall of Mountain View, CA was planned in hopes that would it would solidify the town’s aspiration of becoming the epicenter of silicone valley, which it has become. 

The building, which was inspired by the Halladie Building in San Francisco, is organized around a central atrium space illuminated by a skylight running the full length of the atrium which provides sun light to the internal offices of the building.  The architect, Bill Turnbull, had envisioned the skylight and the office windows overlooking the atrium to be an artistic glass that would provide privacy, pattern, color and help to break down the scale of the window walls.

With this as a starting point, the design was developed with image patterns of wrought iron printed and fired onto the glass of the  interior window wall  as a reference to the iron ornamentation used in the exterior railings of the Halladie Building.  Similar patterns were used in the composition of the skylight so as to create a unified ensemble.  Moreover, the profiles of ornamental crown moldings were used as central elements of the window bays in a form similar to a Roschach ink blot test, which was both a reference to the architecture as well to introduce a bit of whimsy to the composition.

The office windows were assembled as leaded glass panels which were incorporated within insulated glass units to meet fire code requirements and to reduce sound transmission.  The insulated glass units of the skylight has laminated glass panels as the interior glass, which incorporates a film with a pattern printed with both transparent and opaque pigments, which cast patterns and colors into the atrium space.

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Halladie Bldg, Willis Polk architect, 1918