23 March 2004

Our 2004 Spring House Tour

BAHA will hold its 29th Spring House Tour and Reception on Mother’s Day—Sunday, 9 May, from 1 to 5 pm.

Berkeley 1890 “at home” features twelve Victorian-era houses built between 1889 and 1900 along Fulton Street and adjoining side streets. The reception will be held in the garden of one of the houses. Tickets are $25 general admission, $20 for BAHA members and their guests (discount limit: 2 guests per individual member; 4 per household).

Complete tour and ticket order information is available on the BAHA website. Advance tickets may be ordered by mail. A ticket order form is provided on the website.

Two pre-tour lectures will be offered. Paul Duchscherer will speak on “Victorian Glory in the San Francisco Bay Area” on Wednesday, 28 April. Paul Roberts will lecture on “A.W. Pattiani, Victorian Designer-Builder” on Wednesday, 5 May. Both lectures will be held at the Church by the Side of the Road, 2108 Russell Street, Berkeley, at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $7 and may be ordered by mail.

BAHA needs house docents for the tour. Volunteers have free admission to all the tour houses. To volunteer, call (510) 845-1632.

19 March 2004

Does Berkeley need this bridge?

UC Foothill bridge simulation

For the fourth time in 15 years, UC is seeking to obtain an encroachment permit from the City of Berkeley for a pedestrian bridge to be erected across Hearst Avenue between the La Loma-Gayley intersection and Highland Place. The proposed bridge would link the La Loma-Ridge block of the Foothill student housing complex with the dining commons on the south side of Hearst Ave.

As the photo simulations looking east and west reveal, this bridge is pedestrian in more ways than one. In fact, its resemblance to a prison bridge has been remarked by various observers, including several members of the Design Review Committee, who criticized the design and recommended that an alternative that does not include a bridge be offered. At the Public Works Commission, the bridge was deemed intrusive.

The next presentations will take place before the Landmarks Preservation Commission on 12 April and the Planning Commission on 14 April. A public hearing before the Public Works Commission is scheduled for 29 April. All of the above will take place at the North Berkeley Senior Center, 1901 Hearst Avenue at Martin Luther King, Jr. Way, before the matter is presented to the City Council.

If you have an opinion on the bridge project, post it in a comment below this post.

18 March 2004

The beauty of deserted industrial streetscapes

Cal Ink (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2004)

In 1964, Michelangelo Antonioni revealed the beauty of industrial wastelands in Red Desert.

While not necessarily wastelands, west Berkeley’s industrial zones offer beauty in unexpected places. One of these is the California Ink plant at 1326–1404 Fourth Street.

Established here between 1900 and 1903, Cal Ink—now Flint Ink, headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan—is the oldest factory in Berkeley operating at its original location.

On Sundays (as when the photos in the article were taken), the gigantic deserted plant has an eerie beauty Antonioni would have appreciated.

15 March 2004

A powerhouse of a church

Photo: Daniella Thompson, 2004

Few congregations have been as influential on the course of architecture as was the First Unitarian Church of Berkeley in the late 19th century. Its members included Bernard Maybeck, Charles Keeler, Allen G. Freeman, and Edmund S. Gray, son-in-law of Volney D. Moody.

It was Gray who commissioned A.C. Schweinfurth to design Moody’s showcase residence Weltevreden (1896), and he turned to the architect again for the design of the First Unitarian Church’s original home on the corner of Bancroft Way and Dana St. (1898). The two buildings, both landmarks, are Schweinfurth’s only legacy in Berkeley.

Read an illustrated article on the remarkable church building, which has been compared to a powerhouse in more ways than one.

13 March 2004

Greene & Greene: The Art of Architecture

Paul Bockhorst’s fascinating documentary Greene & Greene: The Art of Architecture chronicles the lives of brothers Charles and Henry Greene, from their early efforts to blend American, European, and Asian design concepts, through the creation of their masterworks of 1907–1910, to the independent projects of their latter years. The 57-minute film features more than 15 residences and interiors and includes interviews and comments by Edward Bosley, Randell Makinson, Robert Judson Clark, and Bruce Smith.

The film is now available on DVD and VHS cassette and may be obtained online via Builders Booksource or William Stout Architectural Books.

People with access to KCET-TV (PBS, Los Angeles) can watch the film on Friday, 19 March 2004, at 9:30 pm. The broadcast will include taped segments shot at the Gamble House in Pasadena, with Ted Bosley talking about the Greenes and the significance of the house.

11 March 2004

Berkeley High School in brilliant color

Photo: Daniella Thompson

Berkeley High School is looking better than ever, now that the new buildings are practically complete and very much in harmony with the landmark Art-Deco ensemble designed in 1938 by Henry H. Gutterson and William Corlett, Sr.

The Berkeley Community Theater, Florence Schwimley Little Theater, and the shop and science buildings of Berkeley High School were designated a City of Berkeley Landmark on 7 December 1992. They form part of the Civic Center Historic District and are listed on the California State Historic Resources Inventory.

Read an article by Susan Cerny, illustrated with seven new color photographs.

10 March 2004

Julia Morgan drawings at Hearst auction

Wyntoon (Julia Morgan)

The PBA Galleries in San Francisco are offering the John F. Dunlap Collection of William Randolph Hearst memorabilia at auction. The sale will take place on Thurdsay, 25 March, at 1 pm, with previews at the galleries on 23 & 24 March from 9 am to 5 pm.

The collection is available for viewing online. Items that are likely to be of interest to BAHA members are the numerous architectural drawings by Julia Morgan.

The above pastel drawing of the Bridge House at Wyntoon, made around 1937, is estimated at $2,000–$3,000.

PBA Galleries are located at 133 Kearny St., San Francisco. Absentee bids may be made online.

09 March 2004

Warren Callister: Listening for architecture

Chronicle photo by Eric Luse

Boldly modern, yet arising from the spirit of the place. This is how Dave Weinstein characterizes Warren Callister’s work in his illustrated SF Chronicle article Warren Callister: Listening for architecture. Instructive are the architect’s own words on the work:

“It’s not International Style. It’s more regional in feeling,” he says. “The work I do is trying to reflect the region I’m in.”

Callister comes up with designs by walking the site and listening, a technique he learned from photographer Minor White. “You leave yourself open and it all starts flooding in,” he says. “You’re listening for more than superficial things. The most powerful things come in when you listen.”

08 March 2004

Volunteer at the California
Preservation Conference

The California Preservation Foundation (CPF) is the only statewide, non-profit organization working to ensure that California’s diverse historic resources are identified, protected, and celebrated for their history and role in California’s economy, environment, and quality of life. Each year, CPF selects a conference city with outstanding examples of California’s architectural heritage to showcase both the many treasures that are being preserved and the statewide resources available to preservation-minded citizens.

This year�s conference headquarters will be at the Presidio of San Francisco. To be held from 28 April to 1 May, the conference is being co-hosted by the California Preservation Foundation, The Presidio Trust, the National Park Service, the Fort Point and Presidio Historical Association, the San Francisco National Maritime Museum, the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, and many others.

For more information, read our previous article on the conference.

The California Preservation Conference is looking for volunteers!

Volunteer benefits include attending the educational sessions free of charge, based on the number of hours put in (you may volunteer for as little as one hour or for the full four days).

Various volunteer assignments are available, including conference registration, workshop monitors, bus tour assistants, special events, ticket taking, and more.

If you wish to volunteer or to obtain a registration brochure, please contact the California Preservation Foundation at (415) 495-0349, e-mail cpf@californiapreservation.org, or visit www.californiapreservation.org.

04 March 2004

A classic American streetcar suburb

A “steep roof” Colonial Revival
house on Woolsey Street
(photo: Daniella Thompson, 2004)

The newsletter issue currently being mailed to BAHA members features an illustrated article on Ashby Station. The article describes not the BART facility but the area surrounding it, its history and architecture.

Developed over a brief period following the introduction of the electric streetcar, the Ashby Station area maintains an especially pleasing architectural continuity, consisting in large part of variations on the Colonial Revival motif.

The online version of the article includes historic photographs of the “Shattuck” and“ Lorin” streetcars and new color photos of select buildings in the Ashby Station neighborhood.

03 March 2004

Unlicensed degradation


The original windows of this historic structure—built as a fraternity house in 1914 and now owned by the University Students’ Cooperative Association—were wooden sash with true divided lites in the upper panes.

The building was designated a City of Berkeley Landmark on 4 January 1999. Sometime following the landmark designation, the 2nd- and 3rd-story windows were replaced with aluminum ones. The authentic muntins gave way to false ones—internal grilles between solid panes. The window replacemet appears to have been done without a permit from the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

What building is this? The former Theta Xi Chapter House, now Kingman Hall, at 1730 La Loma Avenue.

This grand old building deserves better. Read about its colorful history here.

01 March 2004

The Ups and Downs of Hillside Gardening

On Sunday, 2 May 2004, Hillside Gardeners of Montclair will hold a garden tour from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Refreshments will be served. Wear walking shoes.

Tickets: $20.00. Proceeds benefit Hillside Gardeners’ education programs. For details, call (510) 530-4855 or e-mail more2view@aol.com.