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Civic Center

History & Background

The Civic Center is the core for city, state, and federal buildings, and contains the highest concentration of government employees outside of Washington D.C. City Hall is the heart of the Civic Center. For decades, City Hall stood as the city’s tallest building. In the early 1900s, the City Council set building height restrictions to no more than 150 feet as precautions in the event of earthquakes. The restriction remained for over 50 years, yet City Hall, at 454 feet and built in the late ’20s, was the one and only exception to the height restriction.

City Hall is the tallest building in the world built with “seismic base isolation” using a series of foundations that slide on each other to keep the building intact during an earthquake. Next time you’re in the area, take an elevator ride up to the 27th floor to the observation deck for a great bird’s-eye-view of what’s going on Downtown.

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