Keywords Change this

Concrete, Brutalism

Project timeline

1968 – 1971



Location Change this

24000 Avila Rd
Laguna Niguel, California

Also known as Change this

The Chet Holifield Federal Building,

Architect Change this

Ziggurat Building Change this

Laguna Niguel, California, USA
by William Pereira Change this
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Description Change this

The Ziggurat Building is a United States government building originally constructed for Rockwell International but it never occupied it. It is managed by the General Services Administration.

Architect William Pereira developed a stepped pyramid silhouette which references to ziggurats, ancient Mesopotamian temples. A large portion of the more than one million square foot building is below grade and located between Los Angeles and San Diego, approximately 6.4 km from the Pacific coastline.

The building has seven tiers and is constructed of angled, painted, pre-cast concrete panels with reticulation, a textured finish that displays curvilinear forms. The building displays some characteristics of the Brutalist style. The building has a concrete frame and the lateral force-resisting system consists of concrete shearwalls and single-level concrete moment frames. It was constructed on spread footings and caissons. Anodized aluminum windows, which are separated by slanting concrete walls with triangular forms, are recessed between the horizontal levels. Evenly spaced windows provide a consistent rhythm to the symmetrical building, which has a sprawling horizontal emphasis. The top tier of the building has a large flat roof with attached protruding vertical elements, providing additional texture to the structure.

The east entrance is trapezoidal in form, referencing the overall shape of the building. A moat of smooth rocks surrounds the building on three sides, alluding to the idea that the massive structure is a modern-day fortress. A formal, classically inspired, symmetrical plaza is located outside of the main entrance. Grass panels, trees, landscaped beds, and planters greet visitors and provide contrast to the massive concrete structure. When the site was developed, more than 2,500 trees and 6,500 shrubs were included in the initial landscape plan. Concrete benches echo the materials and form of the building.


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