17 November 2010

BAHA’s Holiday Open House

Photo: Susan Cerny

Thursday, 9 December 2010
4 pm–7 pm
McCreary-Greer House
2318 Durant Avenue, Berkeley

Join us for some holiday cheer at our annual December Open House. Special guest Inge S. Horton, author of the just-released Early Women Architects of the San Francisco Bay Area: The Lives and Work of Fifty Professionals, 1890–1951, will be on hand to sign books and answer questions. Inge’s book is crammed with photographs and information on fifty lesser-known women architects. This is a must-have book for those interested in local architecture.

Refreshments will be served and, of course, BAHA’s own publications—including our bestselling 41 Berkeley Walking Tours—will be available for holiday shopping.

RSVP to baha@berkeleyheritage.com.

25 October 2010

More developers finance the Yes on R campaign

The second filing by the Yes on Measure R campaign of California Form 460, Monetary Contributions Received, reveals that between 1 and 16 October 2010, the campaign received $21,950, bringing the total contributed so far to $54,400.

It will come as no surprise to anyone that a good many of the contributors are the familiar developers whose names are perpetually linked with controversial land-use projects in Berkeley.

Tied in first place, having contributed $5,000 each, are Pacific Gas & Electric and the Northern California Carpenters Regional Council PAC. The carpenters recognize an opportunity for more jobs in the promise of accelerated development offered by Measure R. As for PG&E, $5,000 is peanuts compared to the $46.1 million the utility spent on vainly trying to pass the anti-green Proposition 16 in June.

In second place, with $2,000 each, are First Shattuck, LLC and Constitution Square, LLC. First Shattuck owns and manages the 13-story Great Western Building—known since 1997 as the Power Bar Building and soon to be known as the Chase Building—in the heart of downtown Berkeley. Between 2001 and 2009, First Shattuck earned $917,347 in Federal contracts through lease or rental of office facilities.

Constitution Square, LLC of San Rafael is just another name for Wareham Development, a major commercial developer and landlord in West Berkeley. The name comes from the Constitution Square Building at 2168 Shattuck Avenue, which Wareham developed in 1983 and sold in 2004 to Seagate Properties, also of San Rafael.

Seagate Properties, which gave $1,000, owns and manages five properties in central Berkeley, including the Wells Fargo Building, the aforementioned Constitution Square, 1950 and 2030-40 Addison Street, and the Promenade at 1936 University Avenue. Seagate was the initial developer of the 9-story Arpeggio at 2055 Center Street, which it sold in 2005 to SNK Realty Group of Phoenix, Arizona.

Four other contributors came into play with $1,000 each. Developer Patrick Kennedy sold his seven apartment buildings to Sam Zell’s Equity Residential, but he continues to develop properties in Berkeley and owns the landmark Ennor’s Restaurant Building (formerly the Act 1 and 2 cinemas) at 2130 Center Street.

Townsend 1, LLC of San Francisco is a private company categorized under Private Elementary and Secondary Schools. However, when this reporter phoned their office, the recorded greeting identified the business as Townsend Properties.

Doug Herst, who also contributed $1,000, is a lighting industry veteran. His family founded Peerless Lighting in 1892, and Herst managed the company from 1965 until his retirement in 2006. Upon his retirement, Herst turned his attention to property development in Berkeley. Currently he is chairman and CEO of Herst Ventures, Inc. and working with Darrell de Tienne on a planned work-live development called Peerless Greens. Like a number of other Yes on R contributors, Herst is a generous donor to the Berkeley Repertory Theatre—the Rep’s 2009 annual report places him in the Presidents category ($3,000–$5,999).

The cypher among the $1,000 contributors is Fair-Hill Enterprises, Inc. of Danville. This company is run by its president, James A. Hill, out of his home in the Diablo Highlands subdivision. It was incorporated in May 2009 and was preceded by Fair-Hill Enterprises, LLC, formed in January 1997 and converted out.

Five entities contributed $500 each. Rue-Ell Enterprises, Inc. is familiar to most Southside and Northside dwellers as the owner of rental properties, commercial arcades, and food courts. Hotel Shattuck is owned and operated by BPR Properties of Palo Alto. A few years ago, before the economic bubble burst, BPR proposed to build a 16- or 19-story tower in the hotel’s rear. Measure R would help make that dream a reality.

1950 MLK LLC is another name for Hudson McDonald, developers of the 148-unit New Californian apartment complex, popularly known as the Trader Joe’s Building. A fourth contributor who gave $500, Eat/Work Development, is a real-estate development limited partnership headed by Michael Goldin, an architect, furniture designer, and landlord to various commercial tenants in West Berkeley.

The fifth entity who gave $500 to Yes on R is Berkeley Foundation for the Arts, a non-profit associated with the ACCI Gallery at 1652 Shattuck Avenue. Interestingly, only this past June, councilmember Jesse Arreguín, a leader of the No on R campaign, relinquished $750 from his council office budget to be granted to Berkeley Foundation for the Arts to fund the design and execution of a large-scale mural on the south-facing wall of 1690 Shattuck Avenue.

Greenbelt Alliance contributed $250 to Yes on R, having apparently fallen for its “green” promise.

David Fleishhacker of San Francisco gave $100. A career educator and author, he is president of the Fleishhacker Foundation and a member of the Berkeley Rep board of trustees. The Rep’s 2009 annual report places him in the Associate Producer donor category ($6,000–$11,000).

Closing the current Yes on R contributors’ list with $75 is architect and sometime developer David Trachtenberg, whose practice seems to have evolved toward the type of commercial construction that would benefit if Measure R wins in November.

On the expenditure side, the Yes on R campaign reports having paid $1,500 to the Sierra Club’s San Francisco Bay Chapter for [campaign] literature; $20,922.30 to the campaign firm Terris Barnes Walters for literature (the trifold mailer designed to look as if it had come from the Sierra Club); and $755, also for literature, to Californians Vote Green of Los Angeles.

Why would the Yes on R campaign pay $755 to Californians Vote Green? Because CVG is a sleazy political promoter who will back anyone who pays. In June, CVG supported PG&E’s Proposition 16. Its new slate mailer for November just landed in Berkeley mailboxes. Naturally, it includes the endorsement Yes on Measure R*. In the bottom margin, the following legend was added in mousetype: “Appearance is paid for and authorized by each candidate and ballot measure which is designated by an *.”

12 October 2010

Ten excellent reasons to Vote No on R

Berkeley Planning Commissioner Gene Poschman, who knows the ins and outs of land-use politics better than anyone in town, wrote a position paper entitled Ten Excellent Reasons to Vote No on R.

Read it here.

06 October 2010

“Sierra Club” Yes on R mailer financed by Sam Zell

If you’re a Berkeley voter, you’ll have received the colorful mailer from the Yes on Measure R campaign conspicuously designed to look as if it had come from the Sierra Club.

Like Measure R itself, the mailer harps on the word “green” numerous times. Of course, there is nothing in the ballot language that guarantees any green (or even rosy) outcome for downtown Berkeley.

What we have here is a case of flagrant greenwashing, financed by developers.

California Form 460, Monetary Contributions Received, was made available yesterday. As of 30 September 2010, the Yes on Measure R campaign reports having received $32,450 in contributions.

By far the largest contribution—$25,000 (see a scan of the disclosure form)—was given by Equity Residential, an S&P 500 company and landlord to over 200,000 tenants nationwide.

Equity Residential’s chairman is Chicago billionaire Sam Zell (yes, he who bought and destroyed the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times).

Why would a Chicago real estate firm throw money into a Berkeley race? Because Equity Residential is one of downtown Berkeley’s largest landowners. In 2007, it acquired developer Patrick Kennedy’s portfolio of seven apartment buildings. Recently, the company purchased the Acheson properties on University Avenue between Shattuck and Walnut, where it plans a major development.

Equity Residential has a serious stake in Berkeley, and it’s anything but green.

Nor is the second-largest donor to Yes on Measure R a green environmentalist. In fact, he’s none other than the infamous Lakireddy Bali Reddy, major landlord, developer, and convicted importer of sex slaves.

The L.B. Reddy Estate Co., LLC, donated $2,500 to the Yes on Measure R campaign.

In third place is William Falik, who contributed $1,000.

Falik’s bio on the U.C. Berkeley Law School’s website tells us that he has “practiced land use, real estate, and environmental law and mediation in Northern California for the past 37 years and during this period he has pursued a dual career as attorney and real estate developer. [...] Currently, he is the Managing Partner of Westpark Community Builders which developed 1,500 acres in Roseville, California and planned and entitled 4300 residential units which were sold to the three largest builders in the United States. In addition, as CEO of Live Oak Enterprises, he has developed the Whitney Oaks master planned community in Rocklin, California with a championship Johnny Miller designed golf course and 2000 homes.”

And here’s an even more interesting fact about Falik, reported by Peter Byrne:
In the late 1980s, [developer Angelo] Tsakopoulos and [Phil] Angelides were trying to plow over protected vernal pools in the flood plains of Sacramento county. But their development projects were stalled due to federal and state environmental concerns. Suddenly, a real estate partnership called Live Oak Associates II bought up part of the flood plain adjacent to AKT Development’s land. Government disapproval of wetland development vaporized.

The land was lifted from the flood plain—on paper. Live Oak Associates II mysteriously obtained permission to roll over the wetlands.
Tied with Falik in third place is City Councilmember Gordon Wozniak, who also contributed $1,000.

Two contributors came in with $500 each:

  • Diablo Holdings Ltd. of Alamo, CA, is a property & asset management company representing The Lineweaver Trust, a private investment company (John L. Lineweaver is president of Diablo Holdings). The company manages real estate assets in Alamo and Berkeley, including the Cambridge Apartments at 2500 Durant Avenue and an office building at 2000 Center Street.

  • Marjorie Randolph, senior vice-president of Human Resources and Administration for The Walt Disney Studios in Burbank. She resides in Los Angeles.

  • Three contributors came in with $250 each:

  • S. Osborn Erickson, chairman of the Emerald Fund. On its website, the company claims to be “San Francisco’s premier real estate developer” and displays an array of large developments.

  • Julie Matlof Kennedy of Piedmont, a lawyer and lecturer at Stanford Law School, is married to Patrick Kennedy.

  • Jack Schafer of San Francisco is president of Jack Schafer Associates, which provides consulting services to shopping centers and department stores in Asia.

  • Liveable Berkeley contributed $200.

    William Falik, Marjorie Randolph, S. Osborn Erickson, Julie Matlof Kennedy, and Jack Schafer have something else in common: they are all members of the Berkeley Repertory Theatre’s board of trustees.

    Other Berkeley Rep trustees who contributed to Yes on R are John Field of San Francisco, retired chairman of Field Paoli Architects ($100); David Cox of San Francisco, former president and CEO of Cowles Media Company ($100); Sandra R. McCandless of Lafayette, a partner in the international law firm SNR Denton LLP (formerly Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal LLP) ($100); Thalia Dorwick of Oakland, an author and editor retired from McGraw-Hill Higher Education ($100); Jean Z. Strunsky of San Francisco, vice-president of administration and trustee of the Ira and Leonore Gershwin Trusts ($100); Kerry L. Francis of Oakland, former chairman of Deloitte Financial Advisory Services LLP’s Corporate Investigations practice ($100); David Hoffman, associate director of External Collaboration with the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute at Stanford University ($100); and Dale Rogers Marshall, president emerita of Wheaton College ($100).

    The Rep’s managing director, Susan Medak, also contributed $100 to Yes on R.

    That leaves one individual. Pamela Nichter of Novato, who is vice-president, COO and CFO of Osterweis Capital Management in San Francisco, contributed $100. Nichter and her husband are donors to the Berkeley Rep. In the Rep’s 2009 annual report, their donation is listed in the Directors category ($1,500–$2,999).

    Julie and Patrick Kennedy’s donation to the Rep is listed in the Presidents category ($3,000–$5,999), and Kennedy’s Panoramic Interests is listed as a Berkeley Rep corporate sponsor, under gifts of $6,000–$11,999. S. Osborn “Oz” Erickson, who sits on the Rep’s finance committee with Julie Kennedy, is a donor in the Associate Producers category ($6,000–$11,999). Bill Falik, who is chair of the Rep’s facilities committee, donated even more. He and his wife are listed in the Executive Producers category ($25,000–$49,999). This might explain why Susan Medak is so eager to support Measure R.

    And there you have it. These are the “green” individuals and companies who paid for the “Sierra Club” Yes on R mailer.

    05 October 2010

    Garden Party to Benefit the McCreary-Greer House Maintenance Fund

    Photo: Daniella Thompson

    McCreary-Greer House is badly in need of repairs and maintenance. In addition, the BAHA Board of Directors is committed to making our headquarters more compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

    Phase 1 of our plan calls for repaving the driveway and rebuilding the back porch. Phase 2 will include installing a lift and creating a wider entry door from the back porch. This door will replace the south window. We consider the changes minimal and believe that will not compromise the historic character of the house.

    While BAHA currently has funds for Phase 1 of the project, we are fundraising for Phase 2. We launched our fundraising campaign on Sunday, 3 October 2010, with a garden party and barbecue whose proceeds are earmarked for the McCreary-Greer House Maintenance Fund.

    See pictures of the event in our Photo Gallery

    28 September 2010

    City Council candidates respond to BAHA’s questions

    In our ongoing effort to provide election information concerning preservation matters to BAHA members and the voting public, we invited the 14 candidates running for City Council to answer three questions relating to pressing preservation issues. Ten candidates responded, and their answers are published here, arranged numerically by district and alphabetically by candidate’s name.

    We thank the candidates for taking time to respond, and we remind everyone that BAHA does not endorse candidates for public office.

    27 September 2010

    Vote NO on Measure R

    Downtown Berkeley retains a historic context and a sense of place. It is still the center of our city. There are better models than Measure R for revitalizing our downtown.

    Measure R:
    ♦ is fiscally irresponsible and full of vague statements.
    ♦ is not green—it takes approximately 65 years for a green,
    energy-efficient new office building to recover the energy
    lost in demolishing an existing building.
    ♦ will destroy our Landmarks Ordinance.
    ♦ will not bring back a vibrant and welcoming downtown.

    Protect Berkeley’s Historic Main Street from:
    ♦ Manhattanization
    ♦ Corporate control
    ♦ Tax-revenue loss

    Preserve Downtown Berkeley’s:
    ♦ Sense of place and harmony with neighborhoods
    ♦ Citizen participation
    ♦ Local opportunities for revenue

    Measure R does nothing to bring back a vibrant and welcoming downtown. It is an attempt to gut our Landmarks Preservation Ordinance.


    Click here to download and print the flier.

    25 September 2010

    Measure R — Claims vs. Facts

    Downtown Berkeley
    Photo: Daniella Thompson

    The argument in favor of Measure R, Mayor Bates’ Downtown Area Plan, promises a “safe, vibrant and green Downtown Berkeley.” How much of the measure’s “Green Vision” promise can you believe?

    Planner John English compares Measure R proponents’ deceptive wording, as quoted from the voter’s pamphlet, with what the measure itself does or doesn’t prescribe. Read his detailed analysis on the BAHA website.

    22 August 2010

    Fall Downtown Walking Tours

    Berkeley High School Gymnasium (Olla Podrida, December 1932)

    These tours are free of charge. Meeting points are indicated below. Questions? Please e-mail the BAHA office or call (510) 841-2242.

    Thursday, 30 September 2010, 5:30 pm–7 pm
    Main Street North—explore the expanded downtown area that is encroaching upon old residential neighborhoods.
    Leader: Susan Cerny
    Meet outside the Berkeley BART station.

    Sunday, 3 October 2010, 11:00 am–12:30 pm
    Civic Center—Berkeley’s only designated Historic District in the downtown area.
    Leader: Daniella Thompson
    Guest Co-leaders: Henrik Bull & Marie Bowman
    Meet by the Civic Center Fountain.

    Sunday, 17 October 2010, 11:00 am–12:30 pm
    Acheson Block Neighborhood—The historic heart of downtown amid 21st-century developments.
    Leader: Lesley Emmington
    Meet at the northeast corner of University and Shattuck avenues.

    Look for us at the Solano Stroll

    Photo: Daniella Thompson, 2007

    Sunday, 12 September 2010. The BAHA booth will be located at 1758 Solano Avenue, between Colusa and Ensenada. Solano Stroll info.

    21 July 2010

    Public library demolitions

    Adult reading room, South Berkeley Branch Library

    We are dismayed to learn that the Library Board of Trustees is planning to demolish two branch libraries: West Berkeley and South Berkeley. The Library Bond Measure FF, which passed in the November 2008 election, promised an altogether different outcome. The ballot language specified that “bond proceeds would be limited to renovation, construction, seismic, and disabled access improvements, and expansion of program areas at the City’s four neighborhood branch libraries” and that “plans for renovation include restoration and refurbishment of historic features at the branch libraries as part of any renovation.”

    The West Berkeley Branch Library (William K. Bartges, 1923) was designated a Structure of Merit in 2003, and any application for a demolition permit should require CEQA review and a public hearing before the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

    The South Berkeley Branch Library, designed by John Hans Ostwald in 1960, is one of Berkeley’s Mid-Century Modern gems. Although not a designated landmark, it was identified as architecturally significant and is undergoing CEQA review (see the Initial Study). The building received the Berkeley Civic Arts Commission Community Award in 1965 and the American Institute of Architects/American Library Association Award of Merit in 1966.

    Ostwald, who died at the age of 49 in 1973, designed other public buildings in Berkeley (the Bancroft Center and St. John’s Presbyterian Church are two) and numerous residences. His name guarantees immediate interest when one of his coveted residences is put on the market. In the the South Berkeley Library, Ostwald created an intimate structure on a domestic scale that fits within the surrounding neighborhood. The low building is constructed of concrete block (intended to be left unpainted) and has eaves broad enough to shelter the entrance walkway. The indoor-outdoor esthetic is further enhanced by an outdoor reading patio. The use of natural wood gives a feeling of warmth to the two reading rooms—one low-ceilinged and intimate, the other lit by a skylight in the apex of a high wood-paneled ceiling, whose four sloping sides dramatically echo the slope of the hip roof. The meeting room addition of 1974 was designed by Ostwald’s office, and its design is highly compatible with that of the original library.

    In the Branch Libraries Facilities Master Plan released in July 2008, historic consultant Frederic Knapp stated that “Ostwald was a relatively prolific architect, achieving recognition in the region for designs exemplifying many contemporary architectural values. It appears the property is eligible to the California Register for its association with him and potentially for its design characteristics.”

    In the same Facilities Master Plan, Noll & Tam Architects recommended the following (italics ours): Stabilization and repair: The exterior portions of the original building are among its most deteriorated features, though they appear very easy to restore. The concrete block, windows, trim, and other portions should be repaired and repainted as needed. Reversal of incompatible alterations: The adult reading room could be restored in large part by removal of the existing lighting, repair of the original ceiling, and replication of lost features. Restoration of the original lighting would measurably increase the historical integrity of the building in a way likely to be readily understood by many visitors. The same is true of the skylights.”

    One alternative to demolition should be relocation of the library to a nearby site. We hope that the Environmental Impact Report will include an evaluation of alternative sites for a new library building and options for adaptive and sensitive reuse of the existing building.

    See BAHA’s EIR scope comments.

    Comments may be sent until 16 August 2010 at 5 pm to Aaron Sage, City of Berkeley Planning Dept., 2120 Milvia Street, Berkeley, CA 94704, or by e-mail to asage@cityofberkeley.info.

    20 June 2010

    2010 Preservation Awards Winners

    Hurtig House (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2010)

    On 27 May 2010, BAHA recognized 13 restoration and rehabilitation projects for their part in preserving Berkeley’s architectural heritage.

    Read about the winning projects and see their photos in our Awards Gallery.

    19 June 2010

    Chase Community Giving on Facebook

    Here’s your opportunity to help BAHA at no cost to yourself.

    Chase Community Giving is giving away $5 million to non-profit organizations, and you help decide which 200 local charities receive donations.

    Naturally, we’d like you to vote for the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association.

    If you’re a Facebook user, please click here and vote today. July 12 is the last day you can vote.

    If you’re not a Facebook user, please consider becoming one. BAHA needs your help.

    26 May 2010

    Two Frank Lloyd Wright events

    Marin County Civic Center(photo: Daniella Thompson, 2009)

    The Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy (FLWBC) is holding a lecture and a benefit dinner in Northern California on Saturday, 5 June 2010.

    The lecture will take place at the Marin County Civic Center, Board of Supervisors Chamber (Room 329), in San Rafael and will begin at 11 am. Lynda Waggoner, Director of Fallingwater and FLWBC board member, will discuss the process of nominating the Civic Center building for listing as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as the particular merits that warrant the inclusion of the Civic Center (1957–1970) on this list.
    Donation $10 (see event flier for details).

    The same evening, people who are inclined to spend $1,000 ($650 of it tax deductible), can register for a private tour and dinner at the Walker House in Carmel. Details are available in the event brochure.

    13 May 2010

    New Outing on Friday added

    Berkeley City Club (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2004)

    We’ve just added a tour of the fabulous Berkeley City Club to our Outings on Fridays series of guided architectural tours, organized by Sally Sachs. The tours take place on the first Friday of the month. Meet at 10:45 am. Lunch is optional and not included in the tour price. Advance reservations required. $15 per tour ($20 for Contemporary Jewish Museum) or $60 for four.

    See full details and purchase tickets through our Events Calendar.

    Friday, 4 June 2010
    11:00 am

    Shadelands Ranch Historical Museum
    2660 Ygnacio Valley Road
    Walnut Creek


    Friday, 9 July 2010
    11:00 am

    Shinn Historic Park and Arboretum
    1251 Peralta Blvd.


    Friday, 6 August 2010
    11:00 am

    Berkeley City Club
    2315 Durant Avenue

    Friday, 10 Sept. 2010
    11:00 am

    The Contemporary Jewish Museum
    736 Mission Street
    San Francisco


    05 May 2010

    House Tour photo gallery

    Selden Williams House (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2010)

    Our Julia Morgan House Tour on Sunday, 2 May 2010, was a great success. Photos from the tour are now available for viewing in the Photo Gallery.

    23 April 2010

    The Goddards and Julia Morgan

    2615, 2617, and 2619 Parker Street, designed by Julia Morgan for Louise Goddard in 1905. (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2010)

    Who were Julia Morgan’s most loyal Berkeley clients? Odds are on the Goddards, for whom she designed eight houses. One of these will be open at our Spring House Tour on Sunday, 2 May 2010. Also open will be two houses modeled on the Goddard tour house.

    Who were the Goddards? Read about them in The Goddards and Julia Morgan: An Occasional Love Story.

    02 April 2010

    April walking & driving tours in Berkeley

    Photo: Daniella Thompson

    Saturday, 10 April 2010 at 10:30 am
    Maybeck Country
    Tour guide: Jane Edginton
    A walking tour of Buena Vista Hill with an expert on this district.
    $15 per person
    Maximum 20 participants

    Photo: Daniella Thompson

    Thursday, 22 April 2010, 5:00–7:00 pm
    Hidden Berkeley—Peralta Park to Northlands
    Tour guide: Susan Cerny
    A walking tour through two quiet North-Central Berkeley neighborhoods with the author of Berkeley Landmarks and An Architectural Guidebook to San Francisco and the Bay Area.
    $15 per person
    Maximum 20 participants

    Photo: Daniella Thompson

    Call tour leader for date & time: (510) 524-4005
    Explore Berkeley’s Creeks
    Tour guide: Carole Schemmerling
    A car-pool tour, surveying Berkeley’s daylighted creeks with a co-founder of the Urban Creeks Council.
    $15 per person
    Maximum 10 participants

    To order tickets, mail a check made out to BAHA, indicating the tour(s) of your choice, to:
    April Walking Tours
    P.O. Box 1137
    Berkeley, CA 94701

    You may also purchase tickets online. Please specify your tour date(s) in the Description line. (See instructions for using PayPal.)

    29 March 2010

    Cheney House reduced to rubble

    Photo: Daniella Thompson, 26 March 2010

    Last week, U.C. tore down the landmark Warren and May Cheney House (1885) at 2241 College Avenue, on campus. Last fall, the University of California’s Real Estate Services Group issued a request for proposals for the purchase and relocation of the house. No buyer came forward, and the university took advantage of the Spring Break to demolish it.

    Still standing is the second Cheney house, built in 1902 by Carl Ericsson. It is located next door, at 2243 College Avenue, and can be seen in the photo above. The house has been acquired and will be moved to 62nd Street in South Berkeley.

    27 March 2010

    In the matter of 2707 Rose Street

    Photo: Berkeleyside

    By now, practically everybody in Berkeley knows that on 28 January, the Zoning Adjustments Board approved a use permit for a nearly 10,000-square-foot house and garage at 2707 Rose Street. The story got national play because the property owners are Mitch Kapor and Freada Kapor Klein.

    Along the way, some very basic preliminaries fell through the cracks. The Structure History report submitted on 19 May 2009 claims that “there is no architect of record and no associated persons of historical interest” for the existing structure on the property. Both assertions are wrong.

    As it turns out, the existing house at 2707 Rose Street did have an architect with excellent credentials, as well as a notable first owner.

    Find out who they were in BAHA’s letter to the City Council. The Berkeley Daily Planet published my commentary, If You Don’t Want to Find Anything, Don’t Look Anywhere.

    For background information on the ZAB decision and neighbors’ appeal, see 2707rose.org.

    23 March 2010

    Two pre-House Tour lectures

    Our Spring House Tour, Looking at Julia Morgan: Early Residences in Berkeley, will be preceded by two interesting lectures.

    The first lecture, to take place at the Berkeley City Club (Julia Morgan, 1929), will feature architectural historian Betty Marvin, well-known for appearing as Miss Morgan (see photo on left), as well as for her thorough knowledge of the architect’s life and work.

    The second talk will occur a week later at the Hillside Club. Inge Horton, author of the upcoming book Early Women Architects of the San Francisco Bay Area: The Lives and Work of Fifty Professionals, 1890–1950, will give an illustrated lecture on Julia Morgan’s cohorts.

    A Visit with Julia Morgan
    An impersonation by Betty Marvin
    Thursday, 22 April 2010 at 7:30 pm
    Berkeley City Club
    Members’ Lounge (2nd floor)
    2315 Durant Avenue, Berkeley
    Tickets $15

    Julia Morgan’s Cohorts
    Speaker: Inge Horton
    Thursday, 29 April 2010 at 7:30 pm
    The Hillside Club
    2286 Cedar Street, Berkeley
    Tickets $15

    Advance tickets may be purchased by mail or online. See our 2010 Spring House Tour page for details.

    10 March 2010

    On Photoplayers and bakeries in West Berkeley

    Joe Rinaudo plays his Fotoplayer, manufactured in 1926 at the Van Nuys plant.

    The contraption you see in the video above was developed and first manufactured in Berkeley by the American Photo Play Company, which opened its factory on the corner of Addison and Bonar Streets in 1912. It remained at this location until 1925.

    But photoplayers (so named because they served to accmpany silent films) were only one type of product manufactured on the block that now makes Strawberry Creek Park. To learn about the history of this block, read Bread and Music Were Staples of West Berkeley Block.

    07 March 2010

    Our 2010 House Tour: Looking at Julia Morgan

    Photos: Daniella Thompson, 2010

    BAHA’s next house tour is devoted to everybody’s favorite architect. Looking at Julia Morgan: Early Residences in Berkeley will take place on Sunday 2 May 2010.

    A pre-tour lecture on California Women Architects will be given on Thursday, 29 April 2010, at 7:30 pm, at the Hillside Club. The speaker is Inge Horton, author of the upcoming book Early Women Architects of the San Francisco Bay Area: The Lives and Work of Fifty Professionals, 1890–1950.

    For complete information and ticket orders, visit the 2010 House Tour page. Tour docents receive complimentary admission. To volunteer, e-mail BAHA.

    23 February 2010

    Outings on Fridays

    Shadelands Ranch Historical Museum (courtesy of the Walnut Creek Historical Society)

    Our popular series of guided architectural tours, organized by Sally Sachs, returns this spring. The tours take place on the first Friday of the month. Meet at 10:45 am. Lunch is optional and not included in the tour price. Advance reservations required. $15 per tour ($20 for Contemporary Jewish Museum) or $45 for three.

    Friday, 5 March 2010
    11:00 am

    Grace Cathedral
    1100 California Street
    San Francisco


    Friday, 4 June 2010
    11:00 am

    Shadelands Ranch Historical Museum
    2660 Ygnacio Valley Road
    Walnut Creek


    Friday, 9 July 2010
    11:00 am

    Shinn Historic Park and Arboretum
    1251 Peralta Blvd.


    Friday, 10 Sept. or 1 Oct. 2010
    11:00 am

    The Contemporary Jewish Museum
    736 Mission Street
    San Francisco


    See full details and purchase tickets through our Events Calendar.

    16 February 2010

    “Designing with Nature” film premiere

    BAHA will hold the premiere screening of the documentary “Designing with Nature: Arts & Crafts Architecture in Northern California” on Wednesday, 31 March 2010, at the Hillside Club, 2286 Cedar Street, Berkeley, CA 94709.

    A reception will be offered at 7:00 pm, followed by the program at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door.

    “Designing with Nature” was written, produced, and directed by Emmy Award winner Paul Bockhorst in cooperation with BAHA. Mr. Bockhorst and architectural historian Robert Judson Clark will speak after the screening. The reception will continue following the program.

    See full details and purchase advance tickets through our Events Calendar.

    26 January 2010

    Laurie Vern Bright, 1942–2010

    Laurie Bright, BAHA board member and preservation stalwart, passed away on Sunday, 24 January 2010, after a protracted illness.

    A past chair of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, Laurie led many battles on behalf of Berkeley’s heritage. In 2006, he co-chaired the Measure J campaign against the City Council’s attempt to weaken the Landmarks Preservation Ordinance. That campaign failed but was redeemed two years later with the successful referendum Save the LPO—No on LL. In 2009, Laurie co-led another successful campaign—the referendum on the City Council’s Downtown Area Plan.

    A longtime West Berkeley resident and the owner of an auto repair shop on San Pablo Avenue, Laurie found time to be a community leader, serving as president of the Council of Neighborhood Associations and editor of the CNA Newsleter.
    Laurie & Tamlyn Bright at the “Maybeck Country” house tour, 3 May 2009 (photo: Daniella Thompson)

    Laurie Vern Bright was born on 22 May 1942 in Los Angeles. He grew up in Sacramento and came to Berkeley in 1974. In 1981, Laurie married Tamlyn Schafer. The couple was a regular fixture at BAHA’s annual house tours, always tending a ticket table in front of one of the tour houses.

    BAHA remembers Laurie with gratitude. Our heartfelt condolences go out to Tamlyn and the family.

    21 January 2010

    Original windows matter. Don’t replace, repair!

    Courtesy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation

    Are you considering replacing the original windows in your home? Before you do anything, read this article from the National Trust for Historic Preservation:

    Windows are the most visible, yet commonly under-appreciated components of older and historic homes and buildings.
    While being very beautiful, original historic windows also serve a great purpose—they impart a building’s inside-outside connection. They provide ventilation and light, and can function as emergency egress. Above all, they offer clues to a building's history because they are integral aspects of architectural design.

    However, despite all of these attributes, windows are an easy target and are all too often blamed for energy loss. Commonly, people jump to replace their historic windows because companies promise that their replacement windows will not only save them time and money, but that their products and services are the “green” thing to do. In fact, a thriving industry has grown around the perceived need to replace rather than restore.

    Have you ever wondered why there are no replacement fireplaces? Fireplaces with ill-fitting or missing dampers leak more heat than windows do, but salesmen don’t leave flyers for new dampers in your mailbox, do they?

    One reason why it is tempting for homeowners to replace their original historic windows is because they can immediately see a difference when a window is replaced. And, even though a project like sealing air leaks will ultimately save more energy than replacing windows, there is relatively low demand for air-sealing services. As Tom Kenny, manager of C&O Conservation, has said, “I provide something that is invisible.”

    The following frequently asked questions are intended not only to inform and inspire, but to demonstrate how you can keep your old windows, achieve energy efficiency, and be “green” throughout the process.

    On the same page you will find the following useful guides:

    19 January 2010

    Kenneth Harvey Cardwell, 1920–2010

    Ken & Mary Cardwell at the Berkeley History Center (photo: Stephen Rosen, 1999)

    Kenneth Harvey Cardwell, Bay Area architect and Professor Emeritus of Architecture at U.C. Berkeley, died on 11 January 2010 in Oakland at age 89. Born in Los Angeles in 1920, his ancestors on the paternal side were owners of Spanish-Mexican land grants in Southern California. He served with distinction during WWII as 2nd Lt. in the 35th Fighter Squadron and later chronicled his wartime efforts in a book called How Father Won the War.

    A long-time Berkeley resident, Cardwell was a U.C. Berkeley alumnus (1947), majoring in architecture. He first worked in private-practice firms and then became principal architect in the firm Kolbeck, Cardwell and Christopherson. In 1949, he began his teaching career at U.C., where he created courses in architectural history and historic preservation. An authority on renowned architect Bernard Maybeck, whom he first befriended as a student at U.C., Cardwell wrote the acclaimed Bernard Maybeck: Artisan, Architect, Artist (1977, 1996). He was elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects for his services to the organization and to the profession.

    Among his activities in various Berkeley civic organizations, he was elected President of the Berkeley Historical Society (1997–1999) and later became Chief Archivist, remaining in that position until his retirement in 2009. During his time as Archivist, he organized and computerized the Historical Society archives. Some other activities Cardwell accomplished for the Historical Society included writing the column “75 Years Ago,” (now “A Look Back”) for several years for the Berkeley Voice; curating many exhibits, such as “Berkeley Literary Scene” and “One Hundred Years of Artists in Berkeley”; and leading a variety of walking tours. He leaves behind many friends and associates in that organization. A comprehensive oral history focusing on the life of Kenneth Harvey Cardwell is in progress at the Berkeley Historical Society.

    A memorial service was conducted at St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church in North Berkeley on Saturday, 16 January, followed by a reception at the Cardwell family home in Berkeley. Cardwell is survived by his wife Mary Elinor (Sullivan) Cardwell, five children, nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

    – Therese Pipe

    Ken was absolutely dedicated to the Berkeley Historical Society and to organizing the archives. He worked with determination for many, many years. He ran a tight ship at the beginning, but gradually other volunteers helped him with the responsibilities of running the Society. Ken lobbied to keep BHS a neutral organization that was dedicated to collecting, preserving, researching, and making available the history of Berkeley. He felt that that way, both sister organizations could best serve the community through a combination of BAHA’s advocacy and BHS’s neutrality. He curated outstanding exhibits on Berkeley artists, writers, architects, the fire department, and past and present landmarks. He wrote the BHS Newsletter, led architectural and historical walking tours, and gave lectures on Berkeley architects. BHS volunteers also looked forward to Ken and Mary Cardwell’s gatherings in their Berkeley Maybeck home and in Inverness. It is clear that Ken Cardwell has made an invaluable contribution to Berkeley history and architecture.

    – Linda Rosen

    15 January 2010

    Berkeley Iceland nominated to the National Register

    Courtesy of saveberkeleyiceland.org

    Berkeley Iceland, which was designated a City of Berkeley landmark in 2007, is going back to the City Council for a public hearing on 19 January 2010. The building’s owners, East Bay Iceland, Inc., filed a lawsuit against the city last October, challenging the landmark designation. Under the settlement agreement, the council is to rescind and vacate its July 2007 decision to affirm the LPC’s landmark designation, then hold a new public hearing and make a decision as to the designation of Berkeley Iceland as a City of Berkeley landmark. (Read Heated Battle Over Iceland’s Landmark Status in the Berkeley Daily Planet.)

    The Landmarks Preservation Commission was not informed of the new review and has sent a letter to the City Council, questioning the unpredecented process and pointing out that no law supporting the new hearing is to be found in Berkeley’s Landmarks Preservation Ordinance.

    A few months ago, BAHA asked retired planner John English to write a nomination of the Berkeley Iceland to the National Register of Hitoric Places. This nomination was sent to Sacramento on Tuesday, 12 January.

    All concerned Berkeleyans should make an effort to appear before the council on 19 January and speak in favor of preserving this important landmark.

    08 January 2010

    El Cerrito’s Architectural Heritage

    An illustrated talk by Dave Weinstein

    Sunday, 24 January 2010
    El Cerrito Senior Center
    6500 Stockton Avenue (behind the library)
    Info: (510) 524-1737

    Free admission

    Learn about El Cerrito’s surprisingly rich architectural history, including buildings by such star Bay Area architects as John Hudson Thomas and Walter Ratcliff. One of the world’s leading modernists, Richard Neutra, designed a house in El Cerrito, and the city’s hills are particularly rich in wonderful mid-century modern homes.

    Visit intact neighborhoods from several different eras that give El Cerrito much of it charm and character. Hear about the city’s most beautiful street, chock-a-block with picturesque Storybook houses. See the city’s cutest rustic cabin. Enjoy a church designed by Frank Lloyd Wright’s son, and admire what could be the nicest mid-century modern school in the East Bay.

    Dave Weinstein is the author of Signature Architects of the San Francisco Bay Area.

    06 January 2010

    Save the (Berkeley Daily) Planet

    The Omni, formerly the Ligure Club (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2009)

    Artists for Change is hosting a benefit party for the Berkeley Daily Planet on Sunday, 24 January 2010, from 4:30 to 7:30 pm. The venue is the Omni (formerly the Ligure Club) at 4799 Shattuck Avenue in Oakland’s Temescal district.

    There'll be live jazz and Brazilian music, good food and drink, beautiful people, and fabulous items on silent auction.

    Music by
    Grupo Falso Baiano
    Faye Carol and Sista Kee
    Verismo Opera

    $50 singles/$90 couples at the door; $45/$80 in advance.

    Complete information and advance tickets are available at berkeleydailyplanet.com/benefit.