Conceived as the centerpiece of an ambitious civic center plan that also saw construction of the nearby Safety, Health and Welfare Building and the Richmond Coliseum, this clumsy nineteen-story exercise in modernism sorely lacks any contextual fit. By the mid-1990s its stark white marble cladding posed a significant safety hazard when it began to fall onto the surrounding sidewalks. The sheathing is now secured by a semipermanent system of nylon straps, which serve as Band-Aids for a larger problem. The building occupies an entire block and manages to address all four street fronts adequately. Although the entrance is on Broad Street, the ceremonial front, with an impressive relief seal of the city embedded over the entrance, faces Marshall Street. Spindly antennae and other communications equipment projecting from the roof give the building a cartoonlike, Buck Rogers look. A top-floor observation deck provides a marvelous bird's-eye view of downtown.
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Richmond City Hall
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