San Jose, California


The San Jose City Hall and Civic Center, in San Jose, Calif., marks the new centerpiece of a decade-long redevelopment of the city’s seven-block civic district. The entire site includes a new performance hall, elementary school, and library. City Hall itself comprises an 18-story tower that houses municipal offices, city council chambers, a major public rotunda, an exterior plaza, and below grade parking.

A sweeping public plaza leads to the building’s main entrance on Santa Clara Street. Its focal point is the entry itself: a glazed, domed volume that serves as a visible symbol of the city government. This transparent lobby is large enough to accommodate public events such as speeches, concerts, and exhibitions. Complementing the rotunda on its east side is the office tower; on the west side is a three-story council wing, which houses the Council Chambers, public meeting rooms, retail spaces, and additional departmental offices.

Exterior finish materials include stone, metal panel, clear glass, and concrete. The thin building proportions are achieved with a unique dual structural system that utilizes concrete shear walls as “bookends” to provide lateral strength. This system allows for narrow floor plates that, combined with a west-facing brise soleil, support daylighting and natural ventilation throughout the interiors. Elements such as the sunscreen and the large entry rotunda give the building a landmark quality that befits its purpose as City Hall.



City of San Jose


Richard Meier & Partners Architects
1001 Gayley Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90024

Principals in charge: Richard Meier, FAIA; Michael Palladino, AIA; James R. Crawford, AIA

Project architect: Timothy Shea, AIA

Interiors: Richard K. Irving

Collaborators: Richard Stoner; Karen Bragg; Stuart Magruder; Michael Bessner; Rhonna Del Rio-Ascolese; David Chang; Steven Hyuk Chung; Tom Farrell; Shekar Ganti; Stefan Gould; Michael Gruber; Yunghee Kim; Willis Kusuma; Joongkee Lee; Kimberly Lenz; Aryan Omar; Mark Sparrowhawk; Nathan Urban

Associate architect: Steinberg Architects


Structural: Englekirk & Sabol

Mechanical: Arup

Civil: CH2M HILL


Landscape: Patricia O’Brien Landscape Architecture

Lighting: Fisher Marantz Stone

Acoustical, a/v: Shen Milsom & Wilke; and Paoletti

General contractor

Turner Devcon joint venture


Scott Frances/Esto
Tim Griffith



Structural system

Mix of cast-in-place concrete and structural steel systems

Exterior Cladding

Masonry: Indiana limestone

Metal/glass curtainwall: Anodized aluminum panel and glass curtain wall

Concrete: Architectural cast-in-place concrete


Glass plank glazing system
Interior finishes

Cabinetwork and custom woodwork: Stained ash and painted millwork

Paneling: Painted gypsum board; Perforated metal panel

Floor and wall tile: Terrazzo