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.