Carlton City Hall

Carlton City Hall

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The new Carlton City Hall combines community center, city office, and police department functions into one new building a block from the small city’s downtown core. The design’s organization, form, materials, and features create a fitting presence for City functions tailored to Carlton’s history, character, and industries.

Holst’s involvement with the project began with helping guide a group of George Fox University students to develop a program and concept for a City Hall addition to the existing police station currently on site. The students contrived a building defined by a large barrel roof inspired by Carlton’s wine industry. While the basis for the project evolved due to practical considerations—rehabilitating the existing building as an essential facility would have required significant, expensive seismic upgrades—the student concept helped set the groundwork for the program and for an intentional, defining gesture in the final design.

Holst’s design divides the building into two wings—a secure public safety wing to the west and a public services wing to the east—flanking an inviting recessed public entry courtyard lined with wood in contrast to the classic brick facades. The sloping roofs of the two wings address each other in a relationship that recalls local agricultural structures. The local wine industry inspired the building’s color palette, including wine-tinged color variations in the reddish-brown brick and the interior’s clay and earth tones of the local terroir.

Public Space

An open courtyard brings daylight to and transparency into the interior spaces on either side.

Carlton City Hall

Reflecting Nature

Brick patterning at the northeast corner of the building creates an abstract reference to Douglas Fir forest stands.

Carlton City Hall

Civic Engagement

A history wall and visitor information kiosk in the lobby function as a mini chamber of commerce welcoming visitors, promoting local business, and sharing the historical significance of Carlton.

Upon entry, visitors are greeted by a welcoming customer service desk, which is the primary checkpoint for all building activities. The ground floor community room serves as city council chambers, reservable and flexible event space, emergency center hub, and visible beacon marking the entrance to downtown. The lobby outside the community room provides a generous prefunction space for events that flows to the exterior courtyard. Large doors into the room can open up the space as needed for events or remain closed for more separation. The wood slat backdrop of the council dais incorporates doors to chair storage and a kitchen and provides, along with the expression of the building’s wooden structure, a warm and inviting character to the space. Textured wooden doors can enclosed the reception desk after hours, providing a backdrop to the entry for evening events.

The new offices provide expanded workspace, conference rooms, and storage for city employees with room for future growth. A short-term waiting area outside the office entry provides a space for visitors to meet City Hall staff away from their workspaces. Jory soil earth tones of the main office visually connect to the forest tones of the adjacent stair and elevator lobby. Exposed open web trusses support the sloping roof above and add an open and airy quality to the spaces.


City of Carlton


Carlton, OR


9,800 square feet