Ontario City Hall


Location: Ontario, Ohio

Estimated Completion Date: 2021

Project Size: 17,000 s.f.


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Image of the Civic

Drawing from Kevin Lynch’s seminal work ‘The Image of the City’, which appropriates how citizens perceive and understand underlying structures of the city, we to are proposing an ‘Image of the Civic’. This is most appropriately applied with the public perception of local governmental bodies through the image that is put forth. This happens in three ways [people / policies / participation]. Collectively, there are certain traits of civic institutions and governmental bodies that exude their role in relation to the people, policies, and participation. These are known as the traits of the civic: [Validity // Transparency // Stability // Permanence].

Combined, civic architecture can embody these components... but how? Monumental structures in an axial-symmetrical organization has throughout history symbolized civic traits of validity and legitimacy. Moreover, regularity and rhythm underscores stability and permanence. Lastly, over the last 100 years building and construction technology have allowed for larger and more transparency through improvements in steel and glass. Modern civic buildings may now be more open, lending credence to public’s perception of transparency and participation.

The proposed site for the Ontario Town Hall is at the end of a new primary town center boulevard. The commercial boulevard terminates on axis with the town hall building - parking is either located on street or in a designated parking lot behind. The building faces the urban street edge, with the primary pedestrian circulation rotating around the public square and to/through the Town Hall. The location provides stunning sight lines both to and from the Town Hall building, both to the West, and secondary sight lines to the North and South.

The proposed building massing and organization for the Ontario Town Hall embodies the Design Principles at an architectural scale. While cognizant of its siting within the urban context, the building organization reinforces these site relationships with expanding them throughout the building. Additional Governmental Staff are located directly above the public spaces in the atrium, allowing for ease of access while limiting direct adjacency. The exterior arcade connects the public zone of the building with the governmental spaces, while also allowing access for all major approach locations. The Clock Tower is a crucial part of the organization and massing of the building, serving as a beacon to on-comers entering either the new central boulevard or cross street. The Clock Tower also pays homage the heritage of the city of Ontario, and features a clock and bell designed in collaboration with a local artist. The public may enter the clock tower space at ground level, which forms part of a community plaza able to be used for gatherings or outreach programs.

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