The First Stop on a California Road Trip to the Public Architecture of Charles Moore
Charles Moore’s 1990 Civic Center is a delightful discovery in sleepy Oceanside California. Located at the center of town, Moore’s Irving Gill-inspired buildings surround a great plaza and fountain.
The fountain’s shapes echo the playful forms seen in the Moore’s famous Piazza d’Italia in New Orleans.
An Irving Gill-inspired arcade and tower face the fountain and mark the entrance to the Library from the Plaza.
The Library and Community Rooms open to small courtyard.
From the plaza and fountain colorful tiles, like a stream or river, guide you towards the arched gateway at City Hall.
Under the City Hall arch is yet another fountain, a delightful explosion of Post Modern colors and forms with grand staircases leading to City offices.
Alas, the great fountain in the center of the Plaza has been fenced off and is inaccessible – dramatically undermining Charles Moore’s architectural and urban concept.
References / More Reading:
- Dirk Sutro, “Oceanside Civic Center: 2 Views : Design: The center has strong ties to surrounding streets, which should spur other development in the city’s threadbare core” Los Angeles Times, January 26, 1990
- LA Times Staff Writer, “Moore Takes Oceanside Civic Center Design Prize” Los Angeles Times, January 21, 1986
- Eugene J. Johnson, ed, Charles Moore: Buildings and Projects 1949-1986 (Rizzoli, 1986)
Just a heads up, the fence around the plaza fountain is gone.
Very good to hear, Kirt. I believe I had seen an article a year or so ago suggesting it was being removed, which I obviously think is a good move and positive gesture.