San Jose Civic Center

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In 1996, voters in San Jose, Calif., approved construction of a new Civic Center complex to consolidate city facilities and space, eliminate leased office space and enhance city services. While the City Council identified a number of goals for the new City Hall, it ultimately asked for a landmark building that would reflect the vitality, diversity and creativity of San Jose and incorporate effective sustainable design elements into the project.

Architects were more than able to meet these and other goals the city planners had for the complex. The new Civic Center includes an 18-story tower on the east side of the site; a three story wing on the west side; a centrally located, 10-story domed rotunda; more than 2.5 acres of programmable space on the plaza for community celebrations; 400 on-site and 1,128 off-site parking spaces; 530,000 square feet of office space; and close to 120 public meeting spaces. The city will save approximately $189 million in the next 50 years by consolidating city services in one location. San Jose Civic Center ExteriorSan Jose Civic Center Exterior Close Up

This forward-thinking approach didn’t just stop at the design; it resonated all the way through to coating selection as well. The architectural firm Richard Meier & Partners Architects LLP specified Series 90-97 Tneme-Zinc, a zinc-rich polyurethane, on all the bare steel because of its exceptional long-term corrosion protection. A high-solids polyamide epoxy called Series 166 Epoxoline H.S. was chosen for the intermediate coat, and a topcoat of Series 1075 Endura-Shield II, an aliphatic polyurethane, rounded out the specification. This three-coat system was applied on the structural steel, metal louvers, domed canopy, elevated walkways, staircases and handrails. Any steel members that arrived with a shop primer received a tie-coat of Series 135 Chembuild, a modified polyamidoamine, and then Series 1075.

The adjacent parking garage received a superior masonry coating called Series 156 Enviro-Crete, a waterborne acrylate, after Series 130 Envirofill, a waterborne cementitious acrylic, was applied to help fill and seal the substrate. Enviro-Crete is a popular product for exterior masonry substrates because of its ability to withstand thermal-cycling, its resistance to moisture intrusion and its breathability.

With an eye towards sustainability and life-cycle cost, the designers of the San Jose Civic Center carefully chose Tnemec coatings that would deliver the long-term performance that was in keeping with the building’s overall goal.

project information

Project Name

San Jose Civic Center

Project Location

San Jose, CA

Project Completion Date



City of San Jose


Richard Meier & Partners Architects LLP, Los Angeles, CA

Contractor & Applicator

George Maskers, Oakland, CA