the Berkeley Guide Pt. 3
Part 3 of the Berkeley Guide is about the building that we call home.
It's a hard case to make that this is a great building. I wouldn't dare take on that task, but it has its *cough* charm. First, it's unanimously considered the "ugliest building on campus" by the rest of the University. This should come as no surprise: architects like a lot of ugly things.
Visitor: I'm looking for the architecture school.
Student: That's easy, just look for the worst building on campus.
Cosmetics aside, the building was designed with admirable spirit:
"I wanted it to look like a ruin than no regent would like... It's absolutely unfinished, uncouth, and brilliantly strong . . .The Ark [the old architecture school] for instance, is a ripe building; it has been lived in; it's been used, it's been beaten up and everything else. It's arrived. our building will take twenty years to arrive. "
-William Wurster, first dean of the College of Environmental Design quoted here
never mind the extensive earthquake retrofitting completed a few years ago--you wonder what all that concrete is really getting you. BUT it is kind of a ruin, like the bunkers that I'm so fascinated with, a hulk of concrete which speaks of a time past. I also like the notion that building is in a constant state of arriving
. (you could also say it's in a constant state of departing).
This quality of being unfinished, for me, really does get me revved up to make stuff better. I walk through these halls and think, man, someone should really just take a chain saw to these walls sometime, or bolt some stuff into the concrete. And you see this happening (except the chainsaws). It's a building that feels comfortable because it does not impose upon you a certain way to design buildings.
It is precisely because the building fails, though, that you crave a better environment. You have adapt
your environment, your studio space, to suit your needs. This quality I love.
this is my space, in case you couldn't tell by all the tanks...
Now, I hate hate hate the elevators. Everyone here hates these elevators. There are two that serve floors 4--9, and it can take up to five minutes some days (when only one elevator is working) to get down. If there is any positive to find in this situation, it's that we generally like each other and thus the elevator lobby and elevator itself is a fun, if awkward, social space.
off to the lecture tonight now...
And you can't really complete an entry about Wurster without showing off a sunset shot. The view is so ridiculously wonderful... really, when you visit, try not to look out the window, it might just overwhelm all the other factors that might influence your decision...