27 October 2014

BAHA’s 40th Anniversary Celebration

Sunday, 23 November 2014
2 pm–4 pm

First Church of Christ, Scientist
2619 Dwight Way, Berkeley

Free admission

We welcome the entire community to this free event, as we also celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Landmarks Preservation Ordinance and the many struggles to preserve the heritage and texture of Berkeley.

Reserve a seat, but come in any case, reserved or not. Additional information in the Events Calendar.

BAHA History, Year by Year

We’re marking BAHA’s 40th anniversary with a new Web series, BAHA History, Year by Year.

The highlights of the first year, 1974–75, are already published on the BAHA website.

10 October 2014

BAHA’s 40th Anniversary and Measure R


Photo: Daniella Thompson, 2009

Dear Members,

This year, BAHA is celebrating 40 years since its incorporation (invitations will be sent shortly).

Throughout BAHA’s four decades, we have been closely involved in preserving Berkeley’s historic downtown, which retains one of the few surviving Main Streets in California.

BAHA conducted the first Downtown Survey in the late 1970s. A few years later, we formed the Downtown Steering Committee with local merchants and city government. Out of that committee came the Downtown Design Guidelines, as well as the Downtown Berkeley Association.

In the mid-1980s, BAHA board members Susan Cerny and Arlene Silk drew up the Preservation Element for Berkeley’s Downtown Plan. In 1991, Berkeley joined the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Main Street program. More recently, our members were closely involved in the long deliberations of the Downtown Area Plan Advisory Committee (DAPAC).

Which leads us to Measure R.

BAHA endorses Measure R for the same reasons that led us to oppose the 2010 Measure R.

The current Measure R offers the only avenue for rolling back some of the more harmful elements of the 2010 Measure R, including oversized development that offers no benefits to the community.

Major developers, who stand to be the principal beneficiaries if Measure R loses, are financing the No on R campaign, just as they financed the original Measure R four years ago. The current No on R campaign is as deceitful as the 2010 Yes on R campaign was. The much-ballyhooed “green vision” Berkeleyans voted for in 2010 has turned out to represent nothing more than the color of money that developers stand to reap from 18-story towers full of overpriced apartments.

We urge you to read the arguments for Measure R. It is also highly instructive to read what open-eyed BAHA members like Jacquelyn McCormick and Becky O’Malley have to say about this important issue.

Thank you for your attention.

04 October 2014

Three newly designated landmarks


2503, 2509 & 2511 Regent Street (photo; Daniella Thompson, 2014)

On 2 October 2014, the Landmarks Preservation Commission designated 2503, 2509, and 2511 Regent Street as City of Berkeley Landmarks, Structures of Merit. All three buildings were designed by the noted architect A. Dodge Coplin (1869–1908) in 1902–1903 and represent his earliest residential work in Berkeley.

The immediate area is rich in history and historic resources. Within a block and a half of the three houses there are nine other designated structures (including Berkeley’s only National Historic Landmark, the First Church of Christ, Scientist) and a designated site (People’s Park). An 11th landmark—the Woolley House—is scheduled to be moved to the parcel directly across the street by the end of 2014.

With the designation of the three Coplin houses, the north end of Regent Street has become a de facto historic district.

Find out more about these new landmarks here.

19 September 2014

BAHA endorses Measure R

08 September 2014

The Blood House on the move


The Blood House makes its way past People’s Park.

For 123 years, the Ellen Blood House, a Queen Anne Victorian and a designated City of Berkeley Structure of Merit, was a fixture at 2526 Durant Avenue. Designed by the architect Robert Gray Frise in 1891, the Blood House was the only 19th-century building—and the only single-family home—remaining on the 2500 bloock of Durant Avenue.

In 2003, developers Ruegg & Ellsworth sought a demolition permit for the Blood House. The Landmarks Preservation Commission denied the permit, and the Zoning Adjustments Board followed suit.

A few years later, John Gordon and Janis Mitchell stepped in, offering to receive the Blood house on an empty lot they own on the corner of Dwight Way and Regent Street and to rehabilitate it. The relocation scheme also includes similar plans for the John Woolley House (1876), a City of Berkeley Landmark currently located at 2509 Haste Street and owned by Ken Sarachan.

After 11 years of negotiations, the Blood House was finally moved to its new Regent Street location on Saturday, 16 August 2014. The Woolley House is still awaiting its move.

See the house moving photo gallery.

04 July 2014

2014 BAHA Preservation Awards


Photo: Carrie Olson, 2014

The 2014 BAHA Preservation Awards are available for viewing online.

Rose Walk House Tour photo gallery


Photo: Anthony Bruce, 2014

Photos from our 2014 House Tour, “Maybeck’s Rose Walk and Surroundings,” are now available for viewing.

06 May 2014

Julia Morgan: An American Architect in Paris

“Julia Morgan: An American Architect in Paris” is the topic of Dr. Karen McNeill’s talk at the Berkeley City Club on 29 May 2014, at 6:30 pm.

Tickets: $10 in advance; $12 at the door.

See additional information and purchase tickets at Eventbrite.

15 March 2014

2014 Spring House Tour and Garden Reception

14 March 2014

Benicia Vintage Home & Garden Tour


Fish-Riddell House

Saturday, 10 May 2014
11 am to 4 pm
Tickets: $25 advance; $30 tour day

Two Benicia landmarks will be among the properties to open their doors to the public as part of the Benicia Historical Society’s annual home and garden tour.

The Fish-Riddell mansion at 245 West K Street is an impressive Queen Anne Victorian with a turret, mahogany staircase and mantels, stained-glass windows, and decorative plaster brackets. It is the most elaborate of the 19th-century houses in Benicia.


Frisbie-Walsh House

The Frisbie-Walsh house at 235 East L Street is a Gothic Revival house pre-fabricated on the East Coast and shipped around Cape Horn to Benicia. Built for John Frisbie, General Vallejo’s son-in-law, this c. 1850 house is a virtually identical twin to Lachryma Montis, General Vallejo’s house in Sonoma.

Other houses and gardens will also be included in the tour. For further information, see the Benicia Historical Society website or contact Vicki Cullen at (707) 315-6434 or Jerry Hayes at (707) 746-6689.

26 February 2014

From Bears to Beasleys: A Century of Public Art on the U.C. Berkeley Campus


Photos: Steven Finacom

Sunday, 9 March 2014
10:00 am to 1:00 pm
$25 per person
Attendance limited

To order, send a check made out to BAHA to:
BAHA
Campus Art Walk
P.O. Box 1137
Berkeley, CA 94701

Include the names of people in your party and an e-mail address and/or telephone number. Attendees will be notified of the starting point.

You may also order online via PayPal (see instructions).

Stroll the U.C. Berkeley campus in the company of two experts for a unique look at the university’s outdoor sculpture and public art, both old and new.

Renowned Oakland-based sculptor Bruce Beasley and community historian (and U.C. staff member) Steven Finacom will co-lead this excursion through a sculpture collection that dates back to 1900 and includes the works of notable artists, from Alexander Calder to Douglas Tilden and Gutzon Borglum. Beasley and Finacom will share the intricate history of outdoor art on the campus, from a larger-than-life bust of Abraham Lincoln to a bevy of golden bears, allegorical New Deal mosaics, and a set of silvery rings “floating” in a reflecting pool.

Finacom will talk about the history of the art collection and the stories of the older individual pieces. Beasley, who is a Cal alumnus and currently has five monumental sculptures from his “Rondo” series on exhibit on the campus, will discuss his own works and comment on the other pieces of art and his days as a young artist studying at Cal.

There will be a mid-walk break for coffee and light refreshments.

The walk covers most of the campus and may include steep paths and stairs, although alternative routes can be identified for the mobility impaired.

23 February 2014

Berkeley History Chats

The Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association and the Berkeley Historical Society present a new series of informal lectures, featuring local experts, each talking about a topic of local historic and/or cultural interest.

Berkeley History Center
Veterans Memorial Building
1931 Center Street, Berkeley

Fortnightly on Thursdays
13 March–24 April 2014
7:00–8:30 pm

Admission: $10 per talk by reservation. Space is limited! Order in advance to assure your seat.

You may also order online via PayPal (see instructions).


Photo: Daniella Thompson
  Thursday,
13 March 2014
7:00 pm

Daniella Thompson: The Berkeley Unitarians and Architectural Innovation

In the late 19th century, several religious denominations founded vigorous congregations in the neighborhoods around the UC Berkeley campus. Early Berkeley Unitarians, whose membership included the Maybecks, the Keelers, and fellow founders of the Hillside Club, held a progressive view of architecture. Their first church building at Bancroft Way and Dana Street, designed by A.C. Schweinfurth and completed in 1898, incorporates startling architectural features and has been characterized as a “powerhouse” (it is now the Dance Facility on the UC Berkeley campus).

Daniella Thompson will trace the history of the Unitarian community in Berkeley, introduce its cast of leading characters and the significant houses they built, and discuss the links between culture and nature embodied in its church buildings.



Photo: Tom Dalzell
  Thursday,
27 March 2014
7:00 pm

Sold Out!

Tom Dalzell: Quirky Berkeley

Many Berkeley front yards and gardens contain unusual, eccentric, and curiously alluring displays of art, landscape, and artifacts. Walk down a Berkeley residential street, and you never know what you’ll see from the sidewalk: A giant chicken? A miniature landscape of plastic toys? A panda in a speedboat? An elaborate spiritual shrine? “Art cars” at home? All those, and more, are being catalogued by urban explorer Tom Dalzell, who walks through Berkeley, documenting our “oddball, whimsical, eccentric, and the near-rhyme quirky material culture.”

Tom Dalzell’s illustrated talk will cover this evolving work, looking at Berkeley and environs from out-of-the-way corners of the hills to hot dog stands, the now-vanished driftwood sculpture of the Emeryville mudflats, and the history and stories he’s discovering behind the art.


Thursday, 10 April 2014
7:00 pm

Karin Sveen: The Immigrant and the University: Peder Sather and Gold Rush California

When Norwegian poet and writer Karin Sveen first arrived at the Berkeley campus as a visiting scholar, she saw the dedicatory inscription to Peder Sather on Sather Gate. “Who was this man with a Norwegian last name, and why was he so prominently honored in Berkeley?,” she wondered. Her research over several years has made her the expert on a remarkable man who left his Norwegian family farm in the 1830s to travel to the New World, where he started as a clerk and became a successful businessman, banker, and trustee of the College of California. Sather was a fervent promoter of education on both East and West coasts, and his fortune later paid for two of Berkeley’s most iconic structures, Sather Tower and Sather Gate, as well as for enduring academic programs.

Karin Sveen’s biography of Sather, The Immigrant and the University: Peder Sather and Gold Rush California, has just been revised and published in English by UC Press. It will be the focus of her talk about Sather’s life. Copies will be available for purchase and signing.



Courtesy of Stephen Barton
  Thursday,
24 April 2014
7:00 pm

Stephen Barton: Stitt Wilson, Berkeley's First and Only Socialist Party Mayor

In 1911, in the midst of an era of local, state, and national progressive reform, Berkeley voters elected Berkeley”s first (and, to date, only) Socialist Party mayor. Canadian born Jackson Stitt Wilson was an energetic California immigrant via Chicago, a Methodist minister who preached a Gospel of social justice and service to the poor, and a stalwart evangelist for a society based on cooperation rather than competition. As mayor for two years, he championed public utilities, labor, women’s rights and civic improvements, and opposed alcohol, tobacco, and mandatory vaccination. Family tragedy ended his elected service after one term, but he continued to be a popular speaker and later ran unsuccessfully for mayor and Congress before his 1942 death at his Berkeley home. Wilson’s children had deep connections to the California theater and film scene.

Stephen Barton, Ph.D. has extensively researched Wilson, his life, and his political philosophy and era. His talk will illuminate this largely forgotten figure from Berkeley’s activist past, including both his political activism and family life.

08 February 2014

Letter to the Berkeley City Council

Read BAHA’s letter to the Berkeley City Council regarding the Council’s contemplated move out of Old City Hall.

31 January 2014

Outings on Fridays

Our popular series of guided tours, organized by Sally Sachs, returns this spring. A post-tour group lunch at a restaurant close to the tour venue is optional and not included in the tour price. Lunch reservation must be made at least 5 days prior to each tour.

Tickets: $15 per tour or $40 for the series

  Friday, 7 March 2014
11:00 am

The Gardens at Lake Merritt
Oakland

A hidden jewel in the city of Oakland, The Gardens at Lake Merritt is a seven-acre collection of themed gardens, including Japanese, Mediterranean, Bonsai, Palm, Lavender, Native Bee, Edible, Bay-Friendly, and other garden types.


  Friday, 4 April 2014
11:00 am

Dockside tour of USS Potomac
Oakland

The “Floating White House” was originally commissioned the USCG Cutter Electra in 1934. In 1936 it was renamed the USS Potomac and served as Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Presidential Yacht until his death in 1945. We will visit the restored 165-foot-long vessel, now a National Historic Landmark.


  Friday, 6 June 2014
11:00 am

Cohen-Bray House
Oakland

Built in 1882–1884, the Cohen-Bray House typifes the Stick style of architecture and still contains many original furnishings in the Aesthetic style of Charles Eastlake. The original interior decoration is a quintessential example of the Anglo-Japanese design craze of the 1880s. The house is listed in the National Register of Historic Places in addition to being a designated City of Oakland Landmark.


To order tickets, print and fill out the ticket order form and mail it with a check made out to BAHA and a stamped, self-addressed envelope to:
BAHA
Outings on Fridays
P.O. Box 1137
Berkeley, CA 94701

You can also pay for tickets by credit card via PayPal (see instructions).

17 January 2014

University Art Museum listed in the National Register

On 8 January 2014, the University Art Museum (BAM) was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. BAHA sponsored the nomination, which was written by John English.

The building is considered a masterwork of modernist design and has been called a “visual masterpiece.” In its scuptural forms, it outstandingly exemplifies the Brutalist style of its era. Especially impressive is the unique complex formed by the soaring atrium and spirals of multiple galleries and ramps. Also visually powerful is the building’s exterior, which strongly reflects the interior layout and presents staggered Cubist masses that rise and shift direction compellingly. BAM is a prime example of work by Mario J. Ciampi (1907–2006), an important Bay Area architect and urban designer with a distinctive modernist flair.

Art historican Sidra Stich notes that “At one time the museum was the center of contemporary art activity in the Bay Area. It produced internationally significant exhibitions, had its finger on the pulse of avant-garde activity, and was an energizing hub for people and ideas [...] aspects of the [museum’s] program still focus on the current era, offering insights into contemporary ideas and modes of expression.”

The museum has a continuing commitment to presenting new and experimental work. Also exceptional is the museum’s world-class Pacific Film Archive.

15 December 2013

Julia Morgan, FAIA | 2014 AIA Gold Medal Recipient

On 12 December 2013, the American Institute of Architects Board of Directors posthumously awarded the AIA Gold Medal to Julia Morgan, FAIA, the early 20th-century architect whose copious output of quality work secured her position as the first great female American architect. Morgan is the first woman ever to be given the AIA Gold Medal. By receiving the award, Morgan was elevated to the College of Fellows. (The AIA National Board voted unanimously to waive the eligibility rules, in this instance, that require active membership in the AIA to be elevated to Fellowship.)

The AIA Gold Medal is the highest honor the AIA confers on an architect. It acknowledges an individual whose significant body of work has had a lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture. Morgan’s legacy will be honored at the AIA 2014 National Convention and Design Exposition in Chicago.

Continue reading on the AIA website.

09 December 2013

Henrik Bull, FAIA (1929–2013)


Henrik Bull (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2009)

With the death of Henrik Bull on Tuesday, 3 December 2013, BAHA lost a dear friend. A modern architect who received his training under William Wurster when the latter was Dean of the School of Architecture at MIT, Henrik Bull was one of BAHA’s first presidents, serving in 1977–78. He had been a Berkeley resident for over 40 years and frequently attended BAHA events with his wife, Barbara.

Henrik’s connection with BAHA began in the mid-1970s, when four public school buildings (John Muir, Willard, Cragmont, and Jefferson) were threatened with demolition. Along with Carroll Brentano, Loren Partridge, and Anthony Bruce, Henrik visited the schools in order to identify historic features to be preserved. The campaign to preserve the four buildings was only partially successful. The Willard and Cragmont schools would be demolished and replaced with modern buildings. John Muir is still a public school, and Jefferson was sold and is now the private Crowden School.


Henrik Bull (2nd l) at a press conference during the campaign to save Willard Junior High School, 1976 (photo: Anthony Bruce)

During Henrik’s presidency, BAHA began focusing its attention on Downtown Berkeley. Installed in a new downtown office provided by the City of Berkeley, BAHA obtained and administered several grants for historic surveys.

In 2009, in conjunction with BAHA’s Spring House Tour, Maybeck Country: Hillside Houses of the Early- and Mid-20th Century, Henrik delivered the lecture Bay Area Architecture of the 1950s and 1960s, through which the public became acquainted with his early ski cabin designs and major resort projects.

In recent years, Henrik devoted a great deal of time and work in the cause of saving the Berkeley High School Old Gymnasium. He drew up a proposal for reuse of the Old Gym that unfortunately was not adopted by the Berkeley School Board. In August 2010, Henrik co-led the Berkeley High School portion of a BAHA walking tour in Berkeley’s Civic Center.

On 14 October 2013, Henrik participated in a panel following the screening of the documentary Coast Modern, in which he is featured.

Most Bay Area residents are acquainted with Henrik’s 1981 design for the Point Reyes National Seashore’s Bear Valley Visitor Center. The barn-like structure was designed to blend in with the historically significant ranching culture in the area.


The Bear Valley Visitor Center (courtesy of Bull Stockwell Allen)

The following biographical notes were published by the U.C. Berkeley Environmental Design Archives, where the Henrik Bull Collection, 1950–2009 is archived.

Henrik Helkand Bull (1929, New York City) is the only child of Johan Bull (1893–1945) and Sonja Geelmuyden Bull (1898–1992). Johan Bull, a native of Norway, was an illustrator who had regularly contributed to New Yorker magazine. A cousin of Bull’s grandfather, also named Henrik Bull, designed several of Oslo’s landmark civic buildings at the end of the 19th century.

Bull began his studies at MIT in aeronautical engineering, and switched to architecture after the first year. While at MIT he studied with Ralph Rapson, Buckminster Fuller, and Alvar Aalto. Prior to his graduation from MIT in 1952, Bull worked the summer of 1951 in San Francisco with architect Mario Corbett. As a first lieutenant in the USAF, Bull was stationed at MIT Lincoln Laboratory and worked with Buckminster Fuller on developing the geodesic radar domes for the Distant Early Warning Line (DEW Line) system at the north slope of Alaska. He built an early A-frame ski cabin in the United States with his friend John Flender in Stowe, Vermont in 1953. In 1954, Bull returned to San Francisco to work again with Mario Corbett.


Henrik Bull’s first Sierra Nevada ski cabin, 1955 (courtesy of Bull Stockwell Allen)

On the basis of being commissioned to design several ski cabins, Bull opened his own architectural office in 1956. His early practice included homes, condominiums and later hotels and institutional buildings. In the 1950s and the 1960s, Bull designed several prefabricated or kit cabins. In 1962, he was chosen to design the Sunset Magazine Discovery House: a “dream house” limited to 2,000 square feet. Bull designed the home as a series of four sky-lit pavilions built around an enclosed courtyard. It was the first home built in the newly established town of El Dorado Hills.

In 1967, Henrik Bull, John Field, Sherwood Stockwell and Daniel Volkmann formed Bull Field Volkmann Stockwell. Their first large project together was the planning and architecture for Northstar at Tahoe, a new four-season resort. The firm has continued under the following names: Bull Field Volkmann Stockwell; Bull Volkmann Stockwell; Bull Stockwell Allen; Bull Stockwell Allen & Ripley; and is now called Bull Stockwell Allen/BSA Architects.

Classified in both the Northern California Modern and the Bay Regional Styles, the question of an appropriate architecture for its location has always been Henrik Bull’s main concern. He feels that a building of quality does not unnecessarily disturb the site and should be comprehensible to everyone and that creating lasting architecture can be achieved by placing priority on client needs and relationship to the site.

Bull has been elected Vice President (1967) and President (1968) of the American Institute of Architects/San Francisco Chapter (AIA SF), and elected to Fellowship in National AIA in 1969.


BAHA Art Deco party, 30 September 1976. L to r: Bianca Bruce, Henrik Bull, Anthony Bruce, Lesley Emmington, Shirley Dean, Lee Davenport, Todd Withy, Brad Paul (photo: Robin Freeman)

Henrik Bull’s obituary by his BSA colleagues:

It is with a heavy heart we said goodbye to a firm founder and dear friend, Henrik Bull last week. Henrik H. Bull died on December 3, 2013 at his home in Berkeley after battling illness. He was a formidable and talented architect, a mentor and inspiration to many. Although officially retired from the firm for the last 10 years, Henrik was a regular in the office, offering his consultation and expertise, reminding us that sometimes the simplest solution is often the best. His snow-country design expertise and prescribed solutions to ice and snow continue to mark important firm hallmarks.

Henrik grew up on the East Coast and graduated from MIT in 1952. Moving to San Francisco, he opened an office in 1956 and began his architectural career designing award-wining homes in the Bay Area and around Lake Tahoe, including designing one of the first Sunset Discovery homes. In 1968 he and Daniel Volkmann, Wood Stockwell and John Field founded, Bull Field Volkmann Stockwell Architects, which soon won a competition for planning a new Capitol for the State of Alaska.

A passion for skiing naturally led Henrik to be a pioneer in planning and designing the mountain resorts that grew along with the expanding sport of skiing. A principal, he was in charge of major projects ranging from Stowe, Vermont, to Beaver Creek, Colorado, Squaw Valley and Northstar in California. Honored as a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, his 43 major architectural awards include those in California for the Tahoe Tavern Condominiums, the Visitor’s Center at Point Reyes National Seashore, the Northstar Resort in Truckee and the Inn at Spanish Bay, Pebble Beach.

Numerous magazines published Henrik’s work, ranging from Sunset to Architectural Record. Recently, his history as a mountain resort expert was featured in a new book by Margaret Supplee Smith entitled American Ski Resort: Architecture, Style, Experience. The book explains how the experience of skiing for most Americans is inextricably linked to architecture, for our journey down the mountainside is shaped by the ski resort. She describes Henrik and our firm as designing more than 80 mountain projects, including Spruce Saddle Lodge and Poste Montane Lodge at Beaver Creek and the Outpost Day Lodge at Keystone.

Above all, Henrik was a wonderful man. His warmth and passion for his craft were contagious. He was generous with his time and his wealth of experience. Henrik’s stories were as infamous as his expert status on the slopes. We miss him. His work will continue to inspire the firm, other architects and building users for generations to come.

 

Further reading:

Henrik Bull: Buildings that Belong (Dave Weinstein in the San Francisco Chronicle, 16 September 2006).

Henrik Bull, architect who restored buildings, dies (John King in the San Francisco Chronicle, 7 December 2006).

Henrik Bull in Pacific Coast Architecture Database.

Henrik Bull in archINFORM.

14 November 2013

BAHA’s Friday Outings return!

McConaghy House

Friday, 6 December 2013
11:00 am
$15 by reservation

BAHA board member Sally Sachs is planning the next series of our popular Friday Outings guided tours. The first outing is to the historic McConaghy House (1886) in Hayward. This Stick-Eastlake farmhouse was built for Neal and Sarah McConaghy by John Haar, Sr., who later became mayor of Hayward.

The house is beautifully furnished with period pieces and original McConaghy family artifacts. Tour goers will see notable stained-glass windows, impressive fireplaces, original wallpaper, and much more. The house will be decorated for Christmas in the tradition of 1886.

Reserve your tickets online or by mail. For mail orders, please send your check with a stamped, self-addressed envelope to:

BAHA
Friday Outings
P.O. Box 1137
Berkeley, CA 94701

16 September 2013

The BAHA Newsletter, Summer 2013

The latest edition of the BAHA Newsletter is out. Read it online.