Overriding objections by two councilwomen worried about the expense, the Thousand Oaks City Council voted to spend $60,000 to prep the walls of the new Civic Arts Plaza for a copper curtain and stone siding that would cost about $550,000.
The preparatory work will allow architects to hang a shimmering, swaying copper curtain on the 10-story tower of the center's auditorium, which abuts the Ventura Freeway.
After the work, walls of an adjoining performing arts theater may be covered with a sandstone veneer.
But the council has yet to approve the two expensive embellishments.
Councilwomen Elois Zeanah and Jaime Zukowski argued that the money should be used instead to repay loans that are funding part of the $63.8-million complex.
Expressing concern about the copper curtain, which would ripple in the breeze and reflect both natural light and the headlights of oncoming cars, Zukowski noted that the feature was "an experiment even for the architect."