EXTRA, EXTRA/Meeting of environment and people
Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., recently dedicated a $17.8 million environmentally friendly civic center. The facility, which sits on a six-acre site, includes a new city hall and community center designed by Irvine, Calif.-based LPA. The community center, also called the “inter generational center,” contains an art gallery, a ballroom, a conference center and meeting rooms, Plaza Court for gatherings, and a technology center that encourages experienced and inexperienced computer users to interact. The landscape, which was designed by Costa Mesa, Calif.-based NUVIS, features a bell tower and a variety of native and drought-resistant plants that are intended to demonstrate sustainable landscaping. An outdoor Grand Terrace has bocce ball courts shaded by olive trees, a terraced stage backed by picturesque Saddleback Mountain and an alley of trees and accent plants. Nearby, Memorial Garden offers a garden room with a water feature. Also outdoors, the Civic Plaza is enhanced by low walls for seating, decorative lighting and an outdoor stage.