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Restoring the Men's Faculty Club To its Craftsman-Style Charm

Committee Hopes to Raise $1 Million to Refurbish Popular Gathering Place

By D. Lyn Hunter, Public Affairs
Posted March 8, 2000

The "Little Thinkers," an eclectic bevy of emeritus professors, have gathered on campus every Friday since 1948. And while the group is still going strong, their meeting place -- The Men's Faculty Club -- is starting to show its age.

Built in 1902, the club is a stunning example of architect Bernard Maybeck's Craftsman style. But nearly 100 years of meetings, receptions, luncheons and lectures has taken its toll, giving the facility a run-down look.

"The sleeping rooms are grungy, which is the kindest word I can use to describe them," said club member Phyllis Brooks. "Also, there has been some insensitive restoration in the past that doesn't fit well with the original Craftsman style."

Brooks points out stark fluorescent lighting fixtures hanging in a meeting room and bedroom furniture upholstered with garish, 1970s-style fabric as examples. These more recent changes contrast sharply with Maybeck's earthy, redwood-paneled interior.

To restore the club to its former glory, Brooks and other members formed the Centennial Committee and organized a two-year fund-raising effort. The group hopes to raise $1 million in time for the club's hundred-year anniversary in 2002. The drive officially kicked off March 6 with a reception in the Faculty Club.

The money will be used to upgrade and redecorate guest rooms; restore several public rooms, including the Great Hall; upgrade lighting; re-upholster seating in the lounges; and repair and renovate the kitchens, bathrooms and sleeping rooms.

"There has never been a major overhaul of the facility," said Brooks. "We're going to move slowly but deliberately to make sure everything we do is consistent with the Craftsman style and is functional."

For example, couches with upholstered arms will be replaced by Craftsman-style sofas with wide, flat, wooden arms, says Brooks. "When you're at a crowded reception and you want to talk to someone sitting in a couch, you need a strong, comfortable arm to rest on during the conversation."

A design panel will work with an architectural adviser to review each step of the plan. The furnishings must be both high quality and durable, says Brooks.

"Imagine having 50 people in your living room three times a day," she said. "We need hotel-grade products but have very specific design requirements."

Brooks said the committee has found suppliers who can fulfill these needs and, more importantly, guarantee replacement of the products when they do eventually wear out.

"The Faculty Club is like a window on the world," said Emeritus Professor Bruce Bolt, chairman of the renovation committee and of the club's board of directors. "Faculty and students from across the globe, as well as from our own campus, meet here professionally and socially. Like the university itself, we want the club to be first rate, second to none."

Those who donate will see their name featured on a wall in the club. Naming opportunities and memorials are available for guest rooms and other interior spaces. For information, contact the Centennial Committee at or 540-5678.



March 8-12, 2000 (Volume 28, Number 24)
Copyright 2000, The Regents of the University of California.
Produced and maintained by the
Office of Public Affairs at UC Berkeley.
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