The floor is not the only place to find intricate ceramic tile installations. In 1976, Shea Properties built Seacliff Village, a shopping center in Huntington Beach, Calif. that incorporated representations of California shore birds as a design theme. More than 140 species of birds were depicted in hand-painted ceramic tile murals, metal sculptures, natural dioramas and habitat maps.

When Shea Properties announced plans to redevelop the shopping center in 1997, city officials and the Huntington Beach Art Center teamed up to "Save the Birds."

Over the next two years, the "Save the Birds" committee, along with Shea Properties, raised more than $250,000 to relocate the artwork from the vacant shopping center to various locations in Huntington Beach, including the Huntington Beach Civic Center.

The tiles used in the murals were designed by the Barbara Vantrease Beall Tile Studio. Moving the 16 large, hand-painted murals to the civic center took approximately four months. The installation professionals working on the reinstallation used Custom Building Products' VersaBond Bonding Mortar to mount the tiles, grouting them with the company's Polyblend Sanded Tile Grout.

Reinstallation expert Dr. D. R. Chartier directed the project. "As a professional who has faced such problems many times, the most useful advice I can offer is treat this exercise as a creative opportunity to preserve and develop a unique resource¿There will be no cultural legacy to our children if all sites and works of art are considered expendable," he said.

The Huntington Beach Civic Center is located at 2000 Main Street in Huntington Beach.