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Fox Cottage
Fragile, historic Fox Cottage, moved and renovated by UC Berkeley, wins architectural praise
04 June 2002

By Carol Hyman, Media Relations

Berkeley - A project to move and renovate small, storybook-like Fox Cottage at the University of California, Berkeley, recently earned the campus accolades from the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association.

The association commended UC Berkeley "for renewing the life of this City of Berkeley landmark," said Mary Lee Noonan, chair of the awards committee. "It is a happy illustration of the way the spaces in which we live shape our lives."

The life of the fragile, one-story cottage almost came to an end when moving it to make way for new student dining services appeared too risky. But in early 2001, Chancellor Robert M. Berdahl directed that the unreinforced brick building at 2612 Channing Way be moved and saved if at all possible. The house was stabilized, lifted from its foundation and, on huge trailers, slowly rolled around the corner and eased it into its new space at 2350 Bowditch St.

The cottage then was renovated to capture its original charm. It is reminiscent of a Northern European medieval cottage, with slate roof, patterned brick walls and oddly-shaped chimney.

"The Fox Cottage move and renovation was a small project by some standards, but presented big technical challenges," says UC Berkeley Vice Chancellor for Capital Projects Ed Denton. "I'm really pleased at the way the project was handled and the fine result."

Today, the cottage houses the Staff Ombuds office. It originally was constructed in 1930 as a residence by Carl Fox, a UC Berkeley engineering alumnus who designed and built several commercial and residential structures in Berkeley during the early 20th century.

The relocation and renovation of Fox Cottage is part of the campus's development of new student housing and dining services in the Underhill area of the Southside. It was funded by Housing & Dining Services, whose new office and student services building is under construction on the cottage's former site.

The Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association has given the campus other awards - for renovations to South Hall; the Goldman School of Public Policy building, which formerly was a fraternity; University House; and the campus Dance Facility, formerly the First Unitarian Church.