strengthening and restoration of Hearst Memorial Mining Building
has proven to be a testament of the campus's commitment to preservation
of its historic structures.
work is under way to restore the 1907 Beaux-Arts masterpiece
to its original splendor and to make it safe in an earthquake.
The Hearst building is located just 800 feet away from the Hayward
fault. If seismic corrections were not made to the building,
it would likely be damaged beyond repair even from minor temblors.
strategy designed to save the campus's most prized historic
building is a base isolation system pioneered at Berkeley more
than 20 years ago. When completed, 134 base isolators will be
installed under the building - technology to help the building
ride out violent quakes with its beauty and structure intact.
retrofit should reduce the impact of a large quake on the building
from almost certain destruction to repairable damage," said
Rob Gayle, project manager for the Hearst renovation.
the old rigid connections to the earth," says Jake Skaer, an
on-site project coordinator. While the base isolators' top and
bottom steel plates are fixed, providing a rigid connection
to the building and the earth below, the central rubber and
steel bearing is flexible. A three-foot-wide dry moat rings
the building, providing a wide berth within which the isolators
can move 28 inches in any horizontal direction. With this elastic
foundation, builders can save the seismically vulnerable masonry
walls instead of replacing them with a shear wall. "This allows
us to maintain the building's architectural integrity," said
All of that
work was just part of the effort to save the building, a gift
of campus bene-factress Phoebe Hearst, from the dangers of an
earthquake. Inside, much more detailed work is preserving the
building's past. At considerable expense, the campus decided
to not only maintain but also restore a significant amount of
the building interior while providing modern laboratories, classrooms
In the elegant
Memorial gallery, the original Douglas Fir window frames were
removed for restoration. Each pane of glass in the enormous
skylight above has been inventoried, evaluated, and then removed
for repair. On the third floor, workers are restoring the building's
original light courts, by tearing out parts of a 1948 renovation.
That work exposed interior walls to the first natural light
in 50 years and brings the building back to its original form
as intended by architect John Galen Howard. Graduate workstations
will adorn this area, all under the skylight.
All of this
effort has gained the attention of state historic preservation
officials, who have worked with the campus on the restoration
project and sung its praises. Also, California Construction
Link magazine recognized the project for "taking great care
in preserving the building and implementing the kinds of structural
strategies to ensure the building will be there for a long time."
the campus's historic preservation efforts is increasingly common.
"In the last
10 years, the campus has come an enormous distance in how it
treats its historic structures," said Judy Chess, a planner
involved in campus historic rehabilitation projects. "The Hearst
project really initiated a new relationship with the state regulatory
agency, and we've received awards from the Berkeley Architectural
Heritage Association for three other recent projects."
As the oldest
and flagship campus of the UC system, Berkeley has a high number
of structures on or eligible for the National Register and State
Inventory of Historic Places. In addition to its architecturally
significant buildings, Berkeley also has an array of cultural,
landscape, and historic resources, many of them with national
or international significance. The campus will continue identifying
and cataloguing these resources with a new study on historic
and cultural resources to begin this fall.
One of the
projects to receive an award from the local preservation group
is found near the new Haas Pavilion, in a small former house
four decades, Berkeley's dance students have practiced in a
graceful, brown-shingled building set back from Bancroft Way.
A registered historical landmark built in 1898, the Dance Facility
is now safe as well as beautiful, thanks to a dedicated team
of craftsmen who worked literally brick by brick to improve
its seismic resistance while restoring its original features.
things you notice about the building are the big rosette window
and the long, irregular shingles," said Teri Mathers, project
manager. "Only one mill in the world could reproduce the shingles,
and we were lucky that it is located in Northern California.
They got an old piece of equipment up and running to complete
the job for us."
Used as a
church for the first half of the century, the building had been
designed sitting atop an unreinforced masonry foundation. "Nothing
was attached," Mathers said. "We rebuilt the footing and poured
a new foundation, but we left the existing brick intact. You
would never know we were there."
foundation, the chimneys were made of brick. McGraw Construction
photographed them, disassembled them, inserted steel frames,
and rebuilt them. Inside the building, McGraw installed hidden
steel moment frames to support the walls and upgraded the rooms
to improve fire safety and accessibility. The Berkeley Architectural
Heritage Association honored the campus, McGraw and Muller &
Caulfield Architects with an award for their painstaking work.
last 20 years, we've managed to raise the bar in how we implement
good preservation practices as we renew our facilities," said
Chess. "The Berkeley campus has an incredible inventory of historically
significant facilities, and we're committed to rehabilitating
them for future generations."
has a vast inventory of historic sites. Among them:
- 25 buildings
are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
- 30 buildings
are listed on the State Historic Resources Inventory.
- Two landscape
areas (Founders Rock and Sather Gate/Bridge) are on the National
Register, and eight outdoor sites are on the State Inventory.
slide show of renovation projects
the Foundations of Excellence home
Special Issue, Fall 2000