City Building

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In 1979, Skidmore Owings and Merrill designed their third of four buildings for downtown Springfield. The new City Building, located at 76 East High Street, was built to house 10 departments of city government. The building was a subject of great controversy for the city for years before the new building was completed. Residents and local historians fought to keep the old city building erect instead of being demolished due to its deteriorating structure and out-dated elements. The new building was dedicated on June 2nd 1979 and festivities included several days of cultural activities.

Known as the “municipal palace,” the 5.7 million dollar project encompasses a whole city block. The 200,000 square foot, four-story building, sits diagonally on the lot, allowing for a massive landscaping plan that includes sixteen trees, four thousand plants, and two large foot fountains. The design allows for the interaction between architecture, landscape, and human, a popular modern architectural concept. 

The building itself stands at an average of 68 feet tall, and was constructed with concrete and glass, two popular modern building materials. The structure of each of the four floors is constructed from a slab of supported concrete and divided by floor to ceiling glass walls that look out on the city and the vast landscape plan. The design for the new City Building allowed the municipality to encompass many innovative and luxurious aspects, including wall-to-wall carpeting, three elevators, a print shop, computer rooms and more than a thousand sprinklers. Each floor has a different color scheme that is carried out through the décor of the furniture, carpeting, and paint. The building also houses a local art collection exhibited on each level.  

The design for the new city building is as equally striking as the original building of city hall, now functioning as The Heritage Center. All of the elements of the new design and its vast landscape plan provides a modern functionality and aesthetic to employees, visitors, and citizens of Springfield.