McGraw-Hill Distribution Center


Date:
1964
Architect:
Bolles, John Savage
Neighborhood:
Novato
Building Type:
Commercial
Address:
8171 Redwood Boulevard, Novato, California
Current Name:
Birkenstock Campus
Current Use:
Vacant
Current Condition:
Good
Status:
Not Listed
When the McGraw-Hill distribution center opened along the Novato foothills in 1964, it incited some controversy.  At the time, the surrounding area was dominated by farmland and dairy pasture.  The idyllic countryside was transformed by John Savage Bolles’ huge modern structure with a hyperbolic undulating roofline.

However incongruous it may have appeared, the McGraw-Hill campus was carefully and thoughtfully designed.  The space-age warehouse was positioned in the front of the property, offering privacy to office workers stationed in a rear building.  The secluded office building, while relatively closed in the front, opened up to a serene courtyard in back.  The tastefully landscaped patio area featured a pond, plenty of employee seating, and an assortment of modern art.

Over time, the McGraw-Hill campus became an accepted, if not expected, part of the Novato visual landscape.  In the early 1990s, the space was leased to Birkenstock for its United States distribution headquarters.   Birkenstock occupied the site for fifteen years before moving its fulfillment operations to Kentucky in 2007.  Today the impressive McGraw-Hill campus sits empty, awaiting new tenants or possible redevelopment.

Image Credits:
2008 (Heather David)

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