Today's "then and now" images show the part of the Santa Ana Civic Center I like to call "The Salt Flat of the Flags." The concept illustration was done in 1970, shortly after the completion of the Orange County Central Justice Center. I took the "after" photo a couple years ago. Note the State Building which now looms over this mostly featureless plaza.
Thanks to Anaheim native and architecture expert Daniel Paul, I now what to call the angular, massive, rough-surfaced, unpainted concrete structures that were added to the Civic Center in the 1970s. Daniel tells me that the official name for this style of architecture is "brutalism." The State Building and Santa Ana's City Hall are both good examples.
Indeed, look up "brutal" in a thesaurus and you'll find plenty of words that describe these buildings (and 1970s design in general): Coarse, heavy, dull, stupid and cruel. Okay, well maybe it's only cruel if you have to look at it all day.