Monday, December 7, 2009

Who is Vera Schultz?

From an endorsement on the back of the book, "Vera, First Lady of Marin": Vera took Marin County Government out of the hands of a small powerful oligarchy and made it into a truly representative government. She was an exceptional public servant, and a gracious lady. It was a privilege to know her. From William T. Bagley J.D., former California Assembly Member and Board of Regents, University of California.

Vera had followed Frank Lloyd Wright throughout his career with a shelf full of books on his work, and convinced him to produce plans for a new vision of a facility of open, transparent government that includes the Council Chambers, the Courthouse facilities, a library and administrative offices. She was instrumental in maneuvering Wright into agreeing to do a design for the Marin County Courthouse, which proved to be his last design comission prior to his death after a long, dramatic and interesting life. His death was the turning point for the political impetus from the community needed to wrest control from the old guard and finalize the contract to construct the building.

Carefully integrated into the site, this building displays classic elements of the FLLW lexicon, including the illuminated ceiling forms and the dramatic internal curved walkways. Its roof and spire are visible indicators of a fresh vision of the County of Marin that the citizens were successful in bringing about. It's a dynamic building that has accepted some modifications (such as the skylight spine to keep the rain out) with grace.