San Bernardino, California, United States
The Long Beach City Hall and Port Headquarters buildings are the defining elements of the Long Beach Civic Center Master Plan, along with the Billie Jean King Main Library. SOM designed the master plan to revitalize 22 acres of the city’s downtown area by creating a vibrant, mixed-use district and reactivating the historic Lincoln Park.
Identical in mass and proportion, the City Hall and Port Headquarters buildings are designed with long, narrow floors and split cores that link interior spaces, create large open office plans, and visually connect the interiors to the outdoors. The elliptical-shaped council chambers, shared by the city council and port commissioners and located in City Hall, prominently anchor the west end of the Civic Center plaza. The chambers are clad in clear vision glass to symbolize civic transparency and public access to government.
Both buildings are certified LEED Gold and designed to prioritize environmental performance. They also feature energy efficient, under-floor air conditioning systems that eliminate the need for air ducts and mechanical equipment in the ceiling, which allows for higher finished ceiling heights and the ability to expose the ceiling to the structure for increased natural light.
The exterior curtain walls are composed of alternating panels of floor-to-ceiling vision glass and solid panels. The height of the vision panels allows daylight to penetrate into the depth of the floors. Solid panels limit solar heat gain. Balconies are located on the top floor of both buildings. City Hall’s solid exterior wall portions are expressed as white metal panels, while the Port Headquarters building’s are recessed color strips behind vision glass, designed to echo the color variations found in shipping containers at the nearby Long Beach Port.