Alfred Twu's Cultural Tour of Berkeley
Updated September 2005. Like the rest of UC Berkeley, this page is perpetually under construction. Check back soon for more updates. Most data is from actual observation, historical background is from a variety of sources and may not be entirely accurate or complete.
UC Berkeley is home to over 30,000 students, faculty, and staff, and has a history dating back to 1868. It also has a lot of interesting places on campus. Here they are, by building.
MAIN MAP (from UC Berkeley site)
This map has been color coded to identify a few places of interest.
Red: Main humanities buildings
Orange: ASUC, other student facilities
Yellow: Mathematical and Physical Sciences
Green: Life Sciences Building and College of Natural Resources
Blue: Engineering and Earth Sciences
Purple: Residence Halls
Original 1907 Plan for the UCB Campus
Present Day Map Overlay
When the present day map is overlaid onto this plan, you'll notice that it has been completely disregarded for the most part, with Moffit and Evans being the worst offenders. Interestingly, the Life Sciences building is correctly positioned, but instead of being a few small buildings, its the largest building on campus. The original monumental domed auditorium at the top of the main axis was never built, the site instead is occupied by soon-to-be-demolished Stanley Hall, a five-story box and arguably one of the least monumental buildings on campus.
2002 Aerial Map from MapQuest.com
Available for the following places so far... the rest is coming.
Central Dining Facility
Foothill Residence Halls
Le Conte Hall
Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union
Northwest Animal Facility
Seismic Replacement Building
Unit 1 Residential Complex
Unit 2 Residential Complex
Unit 3 Residential Complex
Valley Life Sciences Building
Built in: 1964
Home to: Physics
Places to Check Out:
1. 123 Birge. The first home of the CSUA, Computer Science Undergraduate Association. They moved out in 1981.
2. Display Cases. Located on first floor, features museum style exhibits on the latest in physics research.
Built in: 1929
Home to: Men's dormitory
Food: Not sure if dining hall still in operation
The oldest dorm and the only all-male dorm at Berkeley, Bowles has the feel of a fraternity, with the notable difference of size - this building houses hundreds while most frats feature only mere dozens. This frat culture has been at odds with UC for many years, with the administration constantly seeking new ways to put a damper on good ol boy rituals in the building. These activities included the annual Halloween Party, once ranked among the Top Ten college parties in the country. While other halls had Hall Presidents and other formal sounding names, Bowles had the Assistant Social Secretary and Head of Light Entertainment, aka Asshole.
In the 2000s, when crackdowns on the Halloween Party and other events failed to dampen the Bowlesmen, Housing and Dining Services cleaned house in Fall 2005, purging all old members and starting with an all new group of residents. It shall be seen what kind of an effect this has, if any, given the house had high turnover in years past anyway due to UC's limited housing and the policy of guaranteeing only one year in the dorms.
Places to Check Out:
1. Bowles Elevator. Old style elevator with sliding cage door.
2. Tower. Storage space in tower, accessible only by locked door or unlocked ceiling hatch.
More information offsite in this article.
AKA: Cal Hall
Built in: 1905
Home to: UC Administration and East Asian Library.
Food: None in the EAL, no idea if there are any upstairs
Formerly housing lecture halls, Cal Hall was converted to offices for UC top administration after their Sproul offices had been repeatedly occupied. To secure the building, the doorknobs on all but one door were removed, and a guard posted in the entrance to keep out people with no business being there.
This does not mean that students are banned from this building though, as the expanding East Asian Library has long since outgrown its cramped attic space in neighboring Durant Hall, requiring a third of its collection to be housed in the basement of California Hall. The remaining third that doesnt even fit in this expansion is housed off in a warehouse at the Richmond Field Station, and patrons need to request books and pick them up the next day. The eventual construction of the new Asian Studies building will solve this problem.
CENTRAL DINING FACILITY
AKA: Super DC, Crossroads
Built in: 2003
Home to: Dining commons and office space.
Food: Yes, dining commons and cafe.
The old Unit 1 and 2 DC's had serious problems, by that I mean seismic ones (though I don't mean to ignore the food quality issues). The new CDF plans to fix both. Not only will this building stand up to the Big One, but it will also serve up to Cal student's eating needs. Plans for the CDF include less of the "mystery meat" style buffet lines and more food prepared on the spot so those who are eating it can see the making of it. Whether or not that's a good thing is still too soon to tell. Additionally, a new parking deck will be built on the site of the old Underhill Parking Structure, which was demolished in 1993 as it was then one of the seismically worst structures on campus.
Comments now that's its open: The super DC has awesome food, it's got everything all the time. Also, it opens early and closes late. The only drawback is that its lines are very long around 7:00 PM.
The DC opened intially with an attached cafe called "The Den" that offered similar things as the on-campus cafe/restaurants. This differed from the rest in that it was open late, and was frequently packed on Sunday nights by people seeking to use up dining points before they expired at the end of a week. This weekly ritual has ended with the discontinuation of the 14 and 19 meals-per-week dining plans in favor of flexible points. Also, in Fall 2005, the Den has been converted into a Pete's Coffee.
Built in: 1950
Home to: EECS (Electrical Engineering and Computer Science)
Food: Yes. Candy, ramen, etc. sold at IEEE Student Branch Laboratory. Vending machines on 2nd floor.
Surprisingly, this building is over fifty years old, making it older than EECS itself, which was created from the double-E department in 1972. The first of the modern-styled buldings on campus, Cory Hall began its life as a general engineering department. Over the years, EE and subsequently EECS grew exponentially, several other engineering buildings went up, and by the present day, this entire building is EECS. For those who do not know, EECS is the undisputed hardest major offered at Berkeley. The first hardest is Computer Science, the second if Engineering, the third is Architecture, the fourth is Molecular and Cellular Biology. EECS is in a class of its own and is therefore not ranked.
Of all the large modern boxes, Cory Hall is the least criticized for ugliness. Part of it is due to its out-of-the-way location in the northeast corner of campus, but you do got to give the architect credit. With its tinted windows, smooth white surfacing, and the stylized electrical circuit ornament, Cory has the appearance of a streamlined VLSB. However, step inside and it's a whole different world.
The interior layout of Cory is atrocious. Part of it has to do with the building's numerous vertical expansions over time, part of it has to do with the odd trapezoidal site on a steep slope, but in any case the building is a real maze. Worst of all, although all the floors look the same from the outside, they have vastly different floorplans. The location of the restrooms and the elevator are similarly bad. If you use a wheelchair, you are best advised not to take EECS as a good part of Cory is not accessible. Fortunately, a renovation/seismic retrofit is on the planning board.
In 1982, a bomb planted by the Unabomber went off in a Cory Hall faculty lounge, injuring a professor. In 1985, a second bomb planted by the same man went off in a Cory computer lab, injuring a student. Cory Hall has the dubious distinction of being the only place hit by the Unabomber twice. After the second time, people using Cory Hall grew more vigilant, and eventually the guy got caught. Warning signs from the era still abound.
The Experimental Computing Facility, also known as the XCF, was started in the mid 1980s (I believe 1985) and was given a room in Cory Hall known as the "fishbowl", so named due to its small size. XCF students developed software that played a pivotal role in the development of the Internet, most notably, finding a cure for the Internet Worm computer virus in 1988. The XCF has since moved to Soda Hall.
Construction on the adjacent CITRIS building lead to the closure of campus access from the northeast, and traffic was routed through Cory Hall instead, leading to among other things, an increase in sales at IEEE vending machines.
Places to Check Out:
1. Showcases. Cory's hallways are filled with showcases that are a must-see for any geek. Exhibits include the latest electronic gadgets, robots, and stuff from HKN = Eta Kappa Nu, the EECS Student Honor Society. Often contains humourous displays concering EECS life.
2. HKN Cory Office. Room 290, 2nd floor of Cory Hall (this may or may not be the ground floor depending on where you enter.) Get help on your EE classes.
3. IEEE Student Branch Laboratory. 2nd floor of Cory Hall near the elevators (this may or may not be the ground floor depending on where you enter.) Food is sold here.
4. Cory Hall Lounge. 2nd floor of Cory Hall central courtyard. This lounge has 3 parts- a room, a courtyard outside the room, and another room inside the courtyard. The room is for studying, the courtyard for partying, and the room inside the courtyard for foosball, table tennis, and sleep.
Built in: 1960s
Home to: Civil Engineering
Perhaps a tribute to the longevity of civil engineering structures and the nature of infrastructure as a whole, Davis Hall has outlived its original incarnation. This original structure was a two-story concrete building that in its final years contained space for lab classes involving concrete, steel, and other heavy and messy materials. In 2004 this part of the building was demolished to make room for the CITRIS building.
The south wing, dating from the 1960s, is a seven story basement. Originally intended as mechanically ventilated lab space, it was later converted into a classroom and office building. This has resulted in a lot of windowless classrooms and offices, a problem rectified partially during the 2003 retrofit with the addition of windows on the sixth floor to supplement those on the seventh.
Places to Check Out:
1. Third Floor Hallway. A display area for student groups, you may see a concrete canoe or steel bridge here. On the other end of the hallway there is a viewing gallery of some very large testing machines used to test bridge girders and other large objects.
AKA: Freshman Maze
Built in: 1952
Home to: English, Other Languages, History, Theater, Women's Studies, various other liberal arts departments
The second largest building on campus, Dwinelle has just over 300,000 square feet of maze, er, I mean space.
The real story behind the building's convoluted floorplan and numbering system has to deal with its origin as two seperate buildings, one with classrooms and one with offices. To accomodate Berkeley's expanding size, Dwinelle underwent numerous expansions over the years, one of which added two floors to the north part and grafted the two buildings together. Room numbers were preserved. The story of the two feuding brothers and their rival construction companies is pure CalSO myth.
The buliding has 7 floors, A through G. A is on the bottom. Floor G is one of the highest floors labeled G anywhere. Entrances are at A, B, C, and D depending on where you are.
Due to the large size and number of classes held in Dwinelle, it has often been a target for fire alarm pulls associated with protests. Basically protestors pull the alarm to empty the building in hopes of getting more supporters who would otherwise be stuck in class. Less drastic measures include invasion of the two main lecture halls on Level D.
Places to Check Out:
1. Connection Between Two Halves of Dwinelle. There's one on every floor. Where else can you see five stairwells, two elevators, and hallways going off in every direction?
2. 258 Dwinelle. A room used in Fall 2002 for the internationally infamous Simpsons De-Cal class. In other words people would go watch The Simpsons and then talk about the show, for 2 credits.
Built in: 1964
Home to: Nuclear Engineering, Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, MechaniCAL Engineering, This and That Engineering, etc.
Berkeley's forgotten giant, Etcheverry Hall is roughly the same size as big bad Barrows Hall. However, being built into a hill off the main campus on the Northside and having only the small front end facing the street, most Berkeley students probably don't even know that it exists.
The first building built by the University north of Hearst, (Goldman School of Public Policy was purchased) Etcheverry is UC's first beachhead into what is going to eventually become a swallowing up of Hearst Avenue much in the way Allston and Kittredge were built up from the 1930s to the 1960s. It was followed by Parking Structure A (1967), Parking Structure H (1971), Foothill Student Housing (1990) and Soda Hall (1994). Currently, an addition to Soda Hall, known as Soda Hall II, is in the planning stages.
Etcheverry's two basement levels (floors 1 and 2) extend past the surface structure underneath what is now Soda Hall. These contain the various machine shops used by the engineering departments.
The comic strip Nukees (from Nuke E's- Nuclear Engineering), drawn by Darren Bleuel, a UC nuclear engineering grad student about the NE department, is set in Etcheverry. There are occassional references to its location. The comic runs in the Daily Californian and online at Nukees.com.
Places to Check Out:
1. Showcases. The MechaniCAL engineering department and the Nuclear Engineering department often have interesting displays in the hallways.
2. Chang Lin Tien's Office. Tien was a former Berkeley chancellor and also a professor of mechanical engineering. His office looks over Hearst Avenue on the south face of the Etcheverry. You can identify it by the nameplate outside. The location of the other offices of former UCB chancellors is pending further research.
3. Passage to Soda Hall. Level 2 of Etcheverry and Level 2 of Soda are connected by a tunnel.
4. Giant Nuclear Powered Robotic Ant. According to the Nukees comic, this beast resides in the basement of Etcheverry. What actually is there is a complete but non-operating nuclear reactor. (Berkeley is a nuclear-free zone). The nuclear reactor was decommissioned due to an uproar from the City of Berkeley involving nuclear warheads being down in Etcheverry. The shutting down of the reactor allowed the construction of Soda Hall on top of it.
5. FANUC Room. 6th Floor Etcheverry Hall, center of building. A really nice conference room with hardwood everything. Basically, the president of FANUC (a Japanese robotics company) donated a lot of money with the condition it had to go into this conference room.
AKA: ASUC Building, Student Office Building
Built in: 1965
Home to: Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC), Student Groups, Daily Californian, ASUC Auxiliary.
Food: Yes, vending machines on most floors, microwave in publications center.
With one side to Bancroft, and the other to Lower Sproul, Eshleman Hall houses the ASUC, the Daily Californian, and a few dozen Student Groups and Student Publications. The ASUC owns the building, and gives free space to the student groups, and leases the 6th floor to the Daily Cal, which is completely independent.
Construction of Eshleman Hall and its neighbor Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union were paid for by the sale of present day Moses Hall and Stephens Hall to the University. Construction cost $1,000,000.
Most people would rank that business decision up there with the ones leading up to the takeover of the ASUC Bookstore in 1998 following a years of mismanagement and stunning unprofitability.
Today, Eshleman Hall is one of the most seismically unsound (not to mention ugliest) buildings on campus. However, since it is not an academic building, no government funds are available for retrofitting or rebuilding Eshleman, and the ASUC doesn't have the cash.
On February 7, 1992, a student working in the Pilipino American Association student group office on the 5th floor was murdered. The case remains unsolved. Following the murder, security at Eshleman was stepped up with the addition of a security monitor during building hours, requiring ID to enter, and closed circuit cameras. In 2003 new cameras replaced the failing old ones.
In January 2003, one of four campus emergency sirens was installed on top of Eshleman Hall. These sirens are tested at noon on the first Wednesday of every month.
With computerization, Eshleman is becoming less and less of an office building and more of a warehouse. Cages similar to those at a dog pound are located in the basement for assignemnt to individual or paired student groups. These cages are just large enough to accomodate a table, a few chairs, and some other recruitment equipment.
Places to Check Out:
1. Senate Chamber. First floor. Senate meetings are open to the public. See www.asuc.org for schedules.
2. ASUC Offices. Second floor. All sorts of forms to help your student group can be found here. The Student Advocate Office is also on this floor, as is the rest of the ASUC government.
3. Student Group Offices. Third and fifth floor.
4. Daily Californian. Sixth floor. Free Daily Cals. Sometimes other freebies also.
5. Eshleman Library. Seventh floor. Up until the mid-1990s, the ASUC study lounge/library was housed in the top of Eshleman. Then in 1990, it was moved for dubious reasons to the 2nd floor of the MLK union at not inconsiderable expense for the ASUC, under the pretext that Eshleman was gonna get renovated or demolished due to its poor seismic rating. This moved resulted in the displacing of the student social lounge to nonexistence, and the vacated 7th floor space turned into the "Millenium Room", a big conference hall that was rarely even used to half capacity. Finally, in January 2004 the error was corrected and Eshleman Library returned to its original place.
6. Publications Center. Basement. Missed an issue of your favorite campus publication? Chances are there might still be a few copies around here.
6. Re-Used Stuff Emporium (Re-USE). Basement. Across the ASUC parking garage, this emporium is a palce where you can pick up or drop off old stuff for free. Maintains an impressive selection of course readers, office supplies, books, clothing, computer equipment, and more. See the Re-USE website for hours. (recycle.berkeley.edu/reuse.html)
AKA: Fort Evans, Vertical Basement
Built in: 1971
Home to: Mathematics, Economics
The mere mention of Evans rarely elicits a positive feeling. For those with the misfortune of having a classroom or office inside, the building's design worsens the boredom and sheer terror that is Math 1A. Even for those who are lucky enough (oh, and are they a rare and lucky few) to never have any classes held inside the second tallest building on campus, this eyesore at the top of Memorial Glade brings up memories of annual suicides, jokes in the Heuristic Squelch, and blame shifting from architecture students from Wurster. However, this building occupies an important role in UCB history. Not only was it the last building to go up until 1991 (1980 if you count Bechtel Terrace), it was the last building of more than 7 stories to be built at UC Berkeley. Guess enough was enough, eh? In addition, the CS department traces its roots to Evans, as does the computer infrastructure of the entire campus.
There has been much debate over which of the three Big Ugly Concrete Boxes (Evans, Barrows, and Wurster) is the ugliest Berkeley building. While many often say Wurster, which features odd and asymmetrical concrete formations and outgrowths, a quick visit inside each of these buildings will be sufficient proof that Evans wins the contest hands down. The layout of the building is the standard courtyard form, with rooms built around a rectangular hallway. However, there are more rooms where the courtyard should be. This means that the hallway and the interior rooms get no sunlight at all, making all but the basement, ground, first, ninth, and tenth floors feel like a basement.
The basement feels like you're deep below the earth. The ground and first floors have doors to the outside world, and feel like the ground and first floors. The ninth floor feels like the first due to the courtyard. The tenth feels like the tenth.
The location of Evans Hall was originally intended in the 1907 John Galen Howard plan as the focal point of a symmetric campus. A giant domed auditorium of approximately the same dimensions as Evans Hall was planned for the site.
Evans was originally a bare concrete building, much like Wurster Hall. However, during an earthquake retrofit in 2000, contact between steel rebars and the concrete caused the concrete surface to disintegrate, and chunks of the outside wall fell off the building. To solve this problem, the exterior was sealed in some sort of cementish coating. UC Berkeley also took this opportunity to give Evans a makeover with a new color scheme. Unfortunately, Evans' makeover did not come out as well as similarly styled Barrows Hall. Instead, now Evans holds the dubious distinction of having the darkest walls of any major UCB building, giving it a very threatening look. Not exactly the greatest thing for Math 1A or Math 53 students heading in for their midterm.
In January 2003, one of four campus emergency sirens was installed on top of Evans Hall. These sirens are tested at noon on the first Wednesday of every month.
Places to Check Out:
1. 9th Floor Courtyard. Hidden from view by the massive bulk of Evans, this open but almost never used courtyard features furniture and a very noisy fountain, whose sound is enhanced by the flat reflective surfaces around the building. Has added benefit of letting light into 9th and 10th floors, eliminating "basement effect".
2. North Stairwell Shaft. A 3-meter square shaft running the full height of Evans. A constant wind flow creates a loud howling sound that spills into the stairwell and onto the building floors when the door is opened.
3. Basement Computer Lab. Before Soda Hall was built, EECS and CS majors lived the better part of their life deep in the bowels of Evans. Although prolonged stays here are not recommended, it is worth a visit for the atmosphere, which comes complete with checkerboard tile floor, subdued green walls, low ceilings, flourescent lighting, and electrical background noise. Although this basement lab was refitted after a flood in 2001 (caused by retrofitting work hitting a main), it still retains a lot of the atmosphere.
The Evans computer lab, the first computer lab on campus, was originally called the WEB (Workstations in Evans Basement) when established in the mid 1980s. Now it has a less colorful name that I don't remember, though it still retains its old geekiness. Legend is that the popular multiplayer game Netrek was developed and first played here. It is also possible that it took place in the eXperimental Computing Facility "fishbowl" in Cory Hall.
4. UC Berkeley Central Computer Network Connection. This is a legacy of the fact that the Computer Science department grew out of the mathematics department. CS used to be in the middle floors of Evans, wedged between math and statistics, but eventually grew too big and got its own building, Soda Hall. Computers were introduced to UCB in Evans and ever since, Evans Hall has been the center of UCB computing. All outgoing or incoming traffic (i.e. Internet) goes through the main server in the Evans basement, which occupies all of the basement except the quarter taken up by the computer lab. You can get a glimpse of it through one of the windows on the door, which is locked for obvious reasons. You can hear it in the entire basement.
The size of the server bandwidth housed in Evans is second only to the Pentagon. Evans is one of the first buildings in the world to be connected to the Internet.
5. 10th Floor Balcony. Formerly an off-limits area. Although the door wasn't locked, if opened, the "suicide alarm" will sound. The pavement outside Evans Hall has been the cause of more deaths than any other single object in the history of Berkeley, with an average of just under one jump a year. Not every Evans suicide was by the 10th floor balcony though- in March 2002 a student committed suicide by plastic bag suffocation on the 9th floor. The balcony had really nice views though, so in 2004 the problem was corrected by installing plate glass windows around the balcony to deter jumpers.
6. 3 Evans. A room with two doors used to circumvent the Evans Hall security perimeter by CS majors needing to get into the 260 Evans lab at night.
7. 238 Evans. Home of the CSUA, Computer Science Undergraduate Association, from 1986 to 1994. On the second floor.
8. 260 Evans. Location of one of the earliest UC Berkeley Computer Labs. On the second floor.
9. 506 Evans. Home of the CSUA, Computer Science Undergraduate Association, from 1982 to 1986. On the fifth floor.
Evans Hall Coloring Contest
The Ghosts of Evans Hall
Since its construction, numerous people have committed suicide in and around Evans. Here's a partial list. Please do not add to it.
Kevin Hogue, 1984 - 3:55 PM April 4, 2002. Junior in College of Letters and Sciences. Jumped off northwest corner of 10th floor.
Nicolai Rosen, 1983 - 3:20 PM March 11, 2002. System administrator in math department. Second year Cal student. Suffocated himself with plastic bag in 9th floor office after failing to transfer into Computer Science.
Duane Alan Matthes, 1962 - 9:30 AM April 10, 2000. Political Science graduate, class of 1985 from UC Berkeley. Self employed in financial industry. Jumped from north side conference room on 9th floor.
Information prior to April 2000 unknown as of now, as Daily Cal online archives don't go back any further.
FOOTHILL RESIDENCE HALLS
AKA: Hillside, La Loma
Built in: 1990
Home to: Dorms
Food: Yes, Foothill Dining Commons in Hillside building.
AKA: Hearst Theater
Built in: 1903
Home to: Theater
Built into the hills of Berkeley, the Greek Theater is where events too large for any indoor space are held. This includes graduation ceremonies, concerts, and Big Game rallies. Every year before the Big Game the Big Game Bonfire is lit in the central pit.
LE CONTE HALL
Built in: Old section, 1924; New section unknown
Home to: Physics
The long-time home of the Physics Department. There are actually two LeContes, which are connected into one building Dwinelle-style. This being the physics and not the humanities building, LeConte is much better organized and not a maze.
Old LeConte is the building to the east. New LeConte is the one near the Campanile, and has the incredibly uncomfortable lecture rooms 1-4.
The world's first atom smasher was built in LeConte Hall by Ernest Orlando Lawrence, founder of the Lawrence Berkeley Lab and one of six Nobel laureates to have labs in LeConte. Lawrence's prize was also UC Berkeley's first. The six Physics Nobel Laureates are as follows:
Ernest O. Lawrence, 1939
Owen Chamberlain, 1959
Emilio G. Segre, 1959
Donald A. Glaser, 1960
Charles A. Townes, 1964
Luis Alvarez, 1968
This is of a total of 18 Nobel Laureates in UC Berkeley (8 of which as of 2002 are still faculty at UCB, and are the only faculty with on-campus parking). The others include 7 Chemistry, 4 Economics, 1 Literature. However, since the labs of the Chemistry awardees are spread over several buildings, LeConte Hall has been home to more Nobel Prize-winning work than any other building on campus, and possibly the world.
Places to Check Out:
1. 129 LeConte. Home of the CSUA, Computer Science Undergraduate Association, from 1981 to 1982.
2. 329 LeConte. This lab was where Ernest Lawrence's 11-inch cyclotron was built.
3. 392 LeConte. Owen Chamberlain's current office.
4. Giant Liquid Nitrogen Tank. Used for low-temperature experiments, Liquid N2 can be found throughout LeConte. I know of there being this very large tank of it over 12 feet high in New LeConte.
5. Physics 7A/B/C and 8A/B Course Centers. These rooms are small study lounges for the introductory Physics classes. Up until Fall 2002, these rooms and their surrounding hallways would be crammed with physics students getting help from each other to finish their homework right before it was due. In Fall 2002, though, the homework went online and a long-standing LeConte tradition ended. Located on the 2nd Floor of Old LeConte.
Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union
AKA: Student Union, MLK, Union
Built in: 1961
Home to: Student store, ballroom, lounge, computer lab, meeting rooms, etc.
Food: Yes, Bear's Lair pub and restaurants, vending machines in lounge on 2nd floor.
This building, owned by the ASUC Auxiliary, was constructed with funds gained from the sale of the Cal sports teams to the university in 1959.
Places to Check Out:
1. Cal Student Store. The Cal Student Store has several sections. There is the Cal Convenience Store, the Clothing Store, and the General Bookstore on the first floor and the Textbooks and Supplies department in the basement. Once one of the last student run stores in the nation, it is now no longer student run due to mismanagement by the ASUC in the mid 1990s. This bad management included things such as spending $1 million to add a tile floor to the convenience store area, and led to the student store meltdown which culminated in the 1996 takeover of the store by the University. The ASUC Auxiliary was created to manage all ASUC business operations, including the store and other facilities such as the arcade and the art studio in the Chavez Center. In 1998, Follett, a company that specializes in operating campus bookstores, was hired to run the store. Follett pays either rent or a percentage of the profits, whichever is higher. Since they've started running the store they have been paying rent, as profits have not been good. Annual sales are around $20 million. Follett has also been planning an expansion with a cafe on the 2nd floor, but due to poor profits downstairs this has yet to happen and the eastern half of the 2nd floor remains vacant.
2. Heller Lounge. This 24 hour quiet study lounge, located on the west half of the 2nd floor, is a popular study spot, getting filled to capacity the week before and of finals. Once located on the 7th floor of Eshleman, the lounge was moved into MLK in Fall 1999 just before finals, and operations were extended to 24 hours. Ever since the Third World Liberation Front strike in the late 90s, this space has been the "coming soon" location of a multicultural lounge.
3. Open Computing Facility. The only computer lab on campus where food is allowed, the OCF also boasts free printing and lots of UNIX workstations in addition to PC's (which are rarely used as most students don't know how to use UNIX). The OCF moved to MLK from its previous location in the basement of Barrows Hall over the summer of 2000, opening in Fall 2000. The OCF is staffed by student volunteers, and also offers free email and webspace for students. OCF machines are named after disasters, with UNIX machines named after natural disasters (such as earthquake, fallingrocks, tsunami, tornado, etc.), PCs after biological disasters (pox, madcow, anthrax, etc.), and servers after the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (Actually, there are 6 servers, the other two are called Apocalypse and Pestilence). Printers, webcams, and other peripherals are given other disaster related names such as headcrash, logjam, or eurodisney. The OCF is located inside the Heller Lounge on the 2nd floor.
4. Pauley Ballroom. A giant ballroom located on the 3rd floor and extending up through parts of the 4th. Used for career fairs, student group functions, etc. Also rented for conventions to outside organizations. Dances have been rare since 2002 due to a new dance policy implemented in Spring 2002 following rioting at dances that took place in the 2001-2002 year.
4. Roof Terrace. The fifth floor has a couple of meeting rooms and also a large rooftop terrace with benches. A very nice space to study or relax, for some reason it goes almost completely unused. In 2002, following the California Energy Crisis and soaring power costs, installation of solar panels began in the roof. MLK is the first building on campus to have solar panels installed.
NORTHWEST ANIMAL FACILITY
AKA: NAF, NWAF
Built in: 1991
Home to: Animal research
Food: No, at least not for people
Most of the 40,000 lab animals (of which half are mice) at UC Berkeley are housed in this underground facility. Put underground in the desolate northwest corner of campus under the "out of sight, out of mind" thinking, the NAF has nonetheless been picketed by animal rights activists. The building name is labeled (along with the word "underground")on the official campus map, but there is nothing drawn in. For obvious reasons entry to this building is restricted and it probably has the best security of any campus building.
Built in: 1964.
Home to: Chemistry
Hailed as the cutting edge in lecture hall technology when built, Pimentel Hall contains a lecture hall with seating for a few hundred, two bathrooms, and a setup area. Highlights of the lecture hall including a revolving stage, which allows for one professor to teach class, one to set up, and one to clean up, thus allowing the room to be used continuously despite the long setup times involved in chemistry lectures. Some professors have also taken advantage of the spinning stage for theatrical effect, rotating into the room with music playing.
The room also features stadium seating, and originally had numerous televisions suspended from the ceiling so students in the back could see what was going on.
Now, Pimentel continues to be among the most high tech of lecture halls, featuring a giant digital projector and webcast facilities. With webcasting, classes have been able to expand beyond the size of lecture hall seating capacities, as not all students are expected to view the lecture in person.
SEISMIC REPLACEMENT BUILDING
Built in: 2004
Home to: Space to be rotated to displaced departments
Currently, more than half of all campus buildings need seismic retrofitting. Previously, departments were sent out to some other building on campus, or to "temporary" trailers or the corrugated-metal Hearst Field Annex. The 1999 eviction of the entire College of Environmental Design from Wurster Hall to scattered offices and studios across campus in places as far apart as Wheeler Hall, Wellman Hall, and the Hearst Field Annex showed a lot of the shortcomings of such methods.
The seismic replacement building is basically a permanent temporary building. Located just northwest of the northwest corner of campus on what used to be part of the College of Natural Resources Research Field, this building is designed to be occupied by different departments for the two year shifts of building renovation. Eventually it will become additional Life Sciences department space.
AKA: The [Soda] Can, Inside-Out Bathroom, Emerald Palace, CS Residence Hall
Built in: 1994
Home to: Computer Science, EECS
Food: Yes, available for purchase in CSUA office (343) as well as HKN office next door. Microwaves and kitchnettes located somewhere in building.
Although not a dorm, Soda has many of the fittings of one, including showers, kitchenettes, volleyball court, and an abundance of lounges with soft sofas. Why? CS and EECS majors have been known to spend weeks at a time in Soda Hall programming in the computer lab.
The inside of Soda Hall has a very homey feeling to it, with good lighting, lots of sofas everywhere, random artwork, and wall to wall carpeting. The building is completely air conditioned and is one of the few UCB buildings to be completely air conditioned.
Although there are kitchenettes in Soda, they are rarely used, as cooking takes away valuable time that could be used programming (what else?) Instead, CS majors get lots of nourishment from corporate information sessions held in Soda. Since 2001, though, the downturn in the high-tech economy has caused a similar decline in Soda Hall food. Some students now actually leave Soda periodically, others bring in stashes of energy bars, junk food, and (of course) soda.
Places to Check Out:
1. Showers. Located in the basement (1st floor on elevator), there is a male shower and a female shower. From the hall, they are marked like regular bathrooms but are much bigger. Keycard, or friend with keycard, is required to use.
2. Basement Computer Labs. Located along the tunnel connecting Soda Hall to Etcheverry Hall, this series of labs never closes and is never empty either. Has the highest concentration of computers in any part of Berkeley.
3. Volleyball Court. Volleyball is one of the big CS traditions, and so a space for one was planned for Soda when it was to be built. However, none was put in at first because the architect felt the space was too small. So, immediately after the building went up, CS students put up a net anyway in the Soda backyard. The grass died out pretty fast from lots of CS volleyball games, and eventually a realy sand court was put in.
Right now, an addition to Soda Hall known as Soda Hall II, also CITRIS I, is being planned, making the future of the volleyball court unknown. However, volleyball is so deeply ingrained in CS (being one of the five main activities depicted on HKN T-shirts along with sleeping, eating, studying, and intenet) that it would continue even if every volleyball in the world suddenly disappeared.
4. Soda Hall Art. There is a lot of "nerd art" throughout Soda. This can take the form of art inspired by computers as well as art made with the aid computers, and art made from computers and computer parts, such as CD sculpture.
5. 343 Soda. The current home of the CSUA, Computer Science Undergraduate Association. The CSUA moved in in 1994. On the 3rd floor, which is really the ground floor.
6. 345 Soda. The Soda office of HKN Eta Kappa Mu, the EECS Honor Society. Once again, Soda is neither a residence hall nor a fraternity, despite the many similarities it has to one, well ok, the social scene is dismal.
Built in: 1941
Home to: Administration, UC Police
The architectural embodiment of a UC administration whose size has far outgrown this building, Sproul Hall is where students go to file paperwork and to occupy when they get angry at the administration. The headquartering of UC Police in the basement doesn't seem to be of any deterrent whatsoever.
After years of protests and occupations, all the top administrative offices, such as that of the Chancellor, were moved out of easy to occupy Sproul to controlled-access California Hall, which has only one door that opens from the outside and requires all visitors to sign in. Recently though occupations and protests on Sproul have diminished as students and administration find themselves faced with a common enemy- increasing budget cuts out of Sacramento.
The bureaucratic end of Sproul has also been fading into history as more and more services go electronic. Now, only things that require physical ID verification, happen with rare frequency, or require face-to-face contact are conducted in Sproul. Now, most students rarely enter, except to drop off fee payments in the basement dropbox.
Still, Sproul Hall and the steps and plaza in front remain a focal point of campus. One of two places where amplified sound is allowed (the other being Lower Sproul in front of Eshleman Hall) it is still a popular place for staging events of all sorts from football rallies to political rallies.
Places to Check Out:
1. Drop Box #4. One of four dropboxes in the UC Police Station in the south end of the basement. This is where students turn in checks to pay student fees. I do not recall what Drop Boxes 1-3 are, and am certain to never have had to use them.
Built in: 1962
Home to: Psychology, Education
With more square footage than Wurster, Tolman Hall is the fourth largest classroom building on campus, after the VLSB, Dwinelle, and Evans. Due to its out of the way location in the southwestern part of campus on the edge of the College of Natural Resources, most people only know as the big thing on the right going uphill on the Perimeter Shuttle.
While it looks OK from the outside, the interior of Tolman is hideous. Built straddling a major campus road, the second through fifth floors are bridged across the whole building. The lower floors are not. The psychology department, housed in the western half of the lower levels, is such a maze (and you thought Dwinelle was bad) that there are signs everywhere pointing out the direction that things like the stairs, elevator, and classrooms are located. To make things worse the walls, ceiling, and floor are all white, and the ceiling is low and the whole place lacks natural lighting. Makes you wonder how in the world this ended up being home to the Psychology Department. Enter at your own risk. Not responsible for lost sanity.
In January 2003, one of four campus emergency sirens was installed on top of Tolman Hall. These sirens are tested at noon on the first Wednesday of every month.
Places to Check Out:
1. 2320 Tolman. A room used in Fall 2002 for the internationally infamous Simpsons De-Cal class. In other words people would go watch The Simpsons and then talk about the show, for 2 credits.
2. Tolman Psychology Lab. Numerous labs in building. You can get paid to be an experiment subject in psych experiments that are held here from time to time. Check bulletin boards around campus for details.
Built in: 1959, addition opened 2004
Home to: Primarily freshmen
Food: Not anymore
The first of the units, Unit 1 was built to meet the deluge of students entering UC in the early 1960's. Cheney Hall and Deutsch Hall were the first buildings on the UC campus to have at least some part of the building colored blue. Putnam and Freeborn are green.
Two new halls have since been added, along with new underground common facilities. Each seven floors in height, these feature much larger and nicer apartments that rent at proportionally higher prices to upper division students.
Places to Check Out:
1. Putnam Hall Room 513 In 2001, a certain freshman named David living in Putnam filmed and webcast a pornographic film in his dorm room. As of Fall 2002, he still attends UC Berkeley, although no longer lives in the residence halls. Putnam is located in the southeast corner. Room 513 is on the fifth floor facing out towards Channing Way.
2. Dining Commons. The aptly named Deconstruction Diner finally met its deconstruction in January 2002.
Built in: 1960, addition opened 2005
Home to: Primarily freshmen, though one building is for transfer students
Two new halls have since been added, along with new underground common facilities. These are identical to those at Unit 1.
Built in: 1963
Home to: Primarily freshmen
Food: Yes (Dining Commons)
Due to its location, strategically positioned in the heart of Southside within spitting distance of Telly Ave., Unit 3 is the de facto party dorm of UC Berkeley. This reputation is cemented by the fact that the Unit 3 dining commons does not serve breakfast, which encourages reidents to wake up late, which in turn encourages them to stay up late, and what else are you gonna do at 2AM anyway? Word is that if you checked the 1AM or later box for sleeping time, you got assigned to Unit 3. Among the four Unit 3 halls (Ida Sproul, Norton, Priestly, Spens-Black), Norton and Spens-Black, the two fronting Durant Avenue, are the highest party-per-square-meter concentration locations in the East Bay.
Unit 1 and 2 residents visiting Unit 3 will notice a few differences. Unit 3 was built last and has the seismic bracing built into the building itself. As a result, the hallways are narrower and the ceilings do not have the Alcatraz-style exposed beams.
In an unpopular move to squeeze in more students, the laundry rooms which were located every other floor are now used as dorm rooms. Laundry is concentrated in the central comon building.
Places to Check Out:
1. Spens-Black Hall. A must-see for anyone who's ever lived in one of the Units. The orientation of this hall is a mirror image of every single other Unit tower. Particularly freaky for Unit 3 residents. Spens is in the northeast corner.
VALLEY LIFE SCIENCES BUILDING
Built in: 1930
Home to: Biological Sciences
Contrary to the almost universal assumption, the Valley in VLSB does not denote a geographical feature. Rather, it is named after Wayne and Gladys Valley, who donated a lot of cash for the renovation in the early 1990s. There is actually a plaque in the main south entrance of the VLSB that states this. Apparently, even many parts of the University administration have forgotten this, calling the building the Valley Life Sciences Building as its full name when other buildings have the names spelled out in full. (example: Walter A. Haas School of Business, Stephen D. Bechtel Engineering Center)
That is not to say that there is no geographical valley. Strawberry Creek runs just south of the building, creating a very slight valley.
When built in 1930, the VLSB was the state of the art, and was the largest building in Berkeley, and also the largest concrete building west of the Mississippi. The interior of the building was completely gutted and rebuilt in a renovation in the early 1990s, and the building is once again state of the art. Seventy years later, although larger buldings now exist west of the Mississippi, the VLSB with a total of 400,000 square feet of space is still the largest building on campus, after Dwinelle Hall (300,000 square feet).
The exterior of the building is decorated in its original 1930s surface, complete with animal-shaped ornaments and the names of eight life science departments carved on the side. They are:
The phrase "The Life Sciences" is carved in on the center of the north and south facades.
Of the eight departments only the Psychology department still exists, and it has been moved across campus to Tolman Hall, where it now resides with the Education department. The others disappeared in a reorganization of the entire life sciences at Berkeley in the 1980s. Here are their present day equivalents.
Anatomy- Integrative Biology (IB)
Bacteriology- Plant and Microbial Biology (PMB)
Biochemistry- Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB)
Botany- Plant and Microbial Biology (PMB)
Physiology- Integrative Biology (IB)
Vertebrate Zoology- Integrative Biology (IB)
Zoology- Integrative Biology (IB)
PMB is part of the College of Natural Resources now and has its own building, the Genetics and Plant Biology Building.
Places to Check Out:
1. T-Rex. A genuine T-Rex skeleton stands in front of the UC Museum of Paleontology, along with other fossils. Not sure if he or she has a name. In the center north-south corridor, basement level.
2. Life Sciences Libary. The library with the most comforable furniture. A series of mezzanines in the back of the libary, fitted out with oversize seats and soothing flourescent lighting, is prime snoozing space where many an overworked Molecular and Cellular Biology major can be found napping. In the west end of the building.
3. Bridge to Life Sciences Addition. Sometimes locked, but worth checking out. Located on the fifth floor, it features translucent windows that change color over the time of the day. A very slick high-tech looking space that looks right out of a space station. It even has automatic doors, which are particularly unique as they aren't the sliding type.
4. VLSB Courtyard. Usually locked, but would be a great place to study if it weren't.
Built in: 1964
Home to: College of Environomental Design (Architecture, Landscape Architecture, City Planning)
Food: Yes (Campus Restaurant, Meal Plan Swipes OK)
Non-architecture majors love poking fun at Wurster Hall, the CED building, for the irony of the ugliest building on campus being home to the architecture department. However, as mentioned above, Wurster Hall is not the ugliest building on campus. That's not to say that it isn't ugly, but it does have its redeeming qualities. Such as functionality.
Wurster was designed to minimize energy costs. That is why every window has one of those sun shades over it. They work to varying degrees of success depending on the time of the year. The studio tower has lovely views and is well lit and ventilated.
For all its practical virtues, though, Wurster Hall was the most poorly designed building of all of Berkeley when it came to seismic safety. Basically, it would have been guaranteed to fall down if the Big One hit. In 2000, the building began a retrofit that is scheduled to be completed in 2003. Currently, the north side (tower) has been retrofitted and is now a good place to be when the ground gets shaky. Key elements of the retrofit include adding new classrooms and shear walls in the rear, and cylindrical steel columns in the large open studio rooms. These are designed to support the floor slabs if the perimetr columns peel off during an earthquake.
Having not undergone the repainting that happened to sister buildings Evans and Barrows (sister only in that they have the common trait of starting their lives as ugly bare concrete buildings- they were actually designed by three different sad excuses of architects), Wurster is now the only bare concrete building on campus. After a hard rain, one will notice that the building's exterior will get significantly darker in the parts subject to the heaviest drenching. No reports of leaky roofs have been heard though.
However, for those Wurster Hall fans out there, this building is best viewed at night. At night, when one by one the lights on campus wink out, the 9-story studio tower of Wurster Hall remains blazingly lit all night long. This is not for aesthetic purposes. It is for the purpose that there are architecture students slaving away all night on design projects. Unlike Soda Hall though, Wurster does not have showers, sofas, or kitchenettes. This is because architecture students don't shower, sleep, or eat. Well, some do, at the nearby Hearst Gym.
In January 2003, one of four campus emergency sirens was installed on top of Wurster Hall. These sirens are tested at noon on the first Wednesday of every month.
Fall of 2004 the Wurster Hall elevators have entered a dark age, and on many days only one of the two studio tower elevators works, and the other is painfully slow. This problem has not yet been resolved as of 2005.
Places to Check Out:
1. Studio Tower Stairwell. Despite a recent spray media ban anda retrofit-related cleanup, this stairwell remains the most graffitied anything on campus. This is one place that Cal Clean Up Oski never goes. Work includes anti-Stanfurd sloganeering, poetry, political art, and just general randomness. Kind of like a bathroom, except on a much larger scale. The studio tower is the north tower. There are two stairwells, the front stairwell, near the elevators, and the rear stairwell, which is accessible only through the studios. The rear stairwell reeks of spray chemicals.
2. Ramona's Cafe. Unlike the other three campus restaurants, Ramona's specializes in Italian food. Although this means the selection of other items is limited, the Italian food beats all other UC food hands down. On your right when you enter by the main entrance.
3. 9th Floor West Balcony. A good place to watch the sunset. Crowded by visually-conscious CED students every sunset. The east balcony is used to watch sunrises- a religious experience after an all-nighter in the studio. Take north elevators.
4. CED Library. Just renovated, the CED Library is a nice spacious place to study, and also has a collection of architecture related books and magazines thatwill make anyone interested in buildings drool without end. Located in the north end of Wurster.
5. Architecture Shop. This giant wood, metal, and plastic working shop is where CED students build their models. Lots of free scrap wood available to anyone who wants it. Located in the back (east side) of Wurster.
6. Spray booths. Following the building renovation, the CED decided they didn't want the place getting messed up by people spraypainting the floor, so spray materials were technically banned from the studios until the construction of spray booths. These spray booths are nonexistent as of yet, and stairwells and balconies are used instead.
7. Outhouses. Located on top of the South wing and viewable from the studio tower, there are three mechanical structures on the roof that have been decorated to look like outhouses, down to the crescent moon on the door. They are used for testing energy performance of building materials.
Sources and other Sites for Further Reference:
Environmental Design Library Guide to CED Library resources on UCB buildings.
Loafer's Guide to the UC Berkeley Campus (1994) Provides historical background as well as the origins of the names of some of the buildings on campus.
Window By Decade Interior and exterior views of UCB buildings. From an architecture class's project.
UC Berkeley History Digital Archive History archive of all ten UC campuses.
UCHDA- Campus Architecture and Planning History of the original plans for the UC Campus.
Facilities Data Detailed statistics on UCB buildings including floor space, seismic ratings, etc.
UCB Capital Projects The main site for all UCB building construction.
1990-2005 Long Range Development Plan Most of the planned buildings have already been built, though a few more are still in the works.
New Century Plan The Sequel to the LRDP. Some projects have broken ground as of Spring 2003.
Official UCB Map
SAFER (Seismic Action plan for Facilities Enhancement and Retrofit) program (1997) Includes seismic ratings of all buildings.
Campus Access Guide Details on accessibility features for all UCB buildings. Includes photos and floorplans.
Berkeley Live Webcams
UC Berkeley Home Page
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