Hayward City Hall v1.0

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Photo by Scott Haefner: Hayward City Hall v1.0

One of 2 abandoned city hall sites in Hayward, this is the first and more impressive of the two. Built in 1930, it is situated directly on top of the Hayward Fault and the historic building is literally being ripped apart by creep on the fault. The building was deemed unsafe and has sat vacant for nearly 40 years.

The city tried again in 1969 when they constructed the brand new Centennial Tower in the Hayward City Center. This new site was "affectionately" referred to as the "Toaster Building" by architectural critic Allan Temko. Unfortunately, the structural integrity was compromised by the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, forcing Hayward to relocate their City Hall once again.

Their latest try was constructed in the 1990s and opened in 1998. It is located just 700-feet from the Hayward Fault, but it uses a technique called base isolation where the base of the building is sitting on bearings and dampers, allowing the building to move up to 22 inches horizontally and withstand a M 7.5 earthquake.

With the 140th anniversary of the 1868 Hayward Earthquake drawing near, their efforts are likely to be tested sooner rather than later. That’s because the average time between major earthquakes on the Hayward fault has been 140-years for the past 5 events.

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