The Marin County Civic Center, Marin County, California.

The Marin County Civic Center, Marin County, California.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Good morning, architects. A smart article in the Marin Independent Journal by Vicki Larson says that Frank Lloyd Wright's Marin County Civic Center, which just turned 50, might never have happened had the architect not taken a trip to Iraq the year before he got the design approved. Larson talks to photographer Phil Pasquini, who says that the Civic Center is a dead ringer for a design that FLW did for a project in Baghdad at the request of then-King Faisal II. The Civic Center—which has served as the set for such sci-fi classics as THX-1138 and Gattaca—shows a strong Islamic influence. "It's basically a mosque format with a dome and a minaret," Pasquini tells Larson. "It's a very subtle thing. People drive by every day, and it doesn't click in people's minds." (Hence Pasquini's book: Domes, Arches, and Minarets: A History of Islamic-Inspired Buildings in America.) So perhaps we should wish the Marin County Civic Center, 'iid miilaad sa 'iid (translation: happy birthday).

ROCK ROCK, ROCKAWAY BEACH. The Atlantic Cities's Kaid Benfield describes efforts to restore dilapidated bungalows along the Rockaway Peninsula and explains how they got so bad in the first place.

NO KOBE. Stephanie McDonald profiles Dan Meis, FAIA, the global sports director of Woods Bagot, for Australia's Architecture and Design. McDonald concedes from the start that the Staples Center in Los Angeles is widely regarded as the "greatest arena ever built." I can't stand the thought of a Lakers that both employs Steve Nash and plays in the world's greatest arena, so I'm going to put my hope in the Barclays Center. 

MARRIED LIFE.The New York Times sits down with Nancy J. Ruddy, AIA, of the husband-and-wife firm CetraRuddy, which has been involved with several high-profile restorations and conversions in New York. Vivian Marino asks Ruddy how work works when you have no choice but to bring it home, where founding partner John Cetra, AIA, also lives. "We always say there’s probably four times a year that we want to throw each other out the window, but other than that it’s a great asset to have a partner who you’re so in sync with," Ruddy says.

...AND REMAINDERS. Raymond Watson dies at 86... Architecture for preventing white-nose syndrome in bats... Copley Wolff Design Group landscape architect Michael D'Angelo interviewed... New developments in Mecca loom over hajj.