Professor Ananya Roy Ph.D. ’99, Professor Teresa Caldeira Ph.D. ’92, Oxford University Professor of Economics Paul Collier, and Dean Jennifer Wolch after Collier’s lecture about integrating poor countries into global society. (Photo: Adrianne Koteen)
On Wednesday, February 3, Oxford University Professor of Economics Paul Collier was our first keynote speaker with a talk on his groundbreaking research on “the bottom billion.” A billion people live in countries that have fallen far behind the rest of humanity. He then addressed how, over the coming decades, these societies can develop.
In introducing Collier, City and Regional Planning Professor Ananya Roy said, “These issues of global poverty are of central concern to many of us here at UC Berkeley, and they also constitute an important challenge to the disciplines and professions that make up the College of Environmental Design.”
Left: Dana Cuff; Right: Janine Benyus, President and Founder of the Biomimicry Institute, discussed the use of natural and biological structures as a guide for design. (Photo: Adrianne Koteen)
So, all that Berkeley has spawned, all the College of Environmental Design continues to generate, is the springboard from which this next era will grow. And, I agree with all four speakers, who in some way or another point to some kind of tipping point, a bottleneck, that represents our moment historically, and why we can move forward. Each one of the speakers had solutions, that kind of optimism, for the next CED to consider. Whether it’s Collier’s notion of credible hope; or nature’s inspiration as ecological performance standards, not just formal standards; a re-centering of our attentive focus, an amazing concept that’s hard to linger on; and, of course, the urban restructuring of a physical nature that’s inherent and intrinsic to the urban restructuring of an economic nature.
— Dana Cuff
Collier established his theme for the day as design for the poorest of the earth. “If not you, who?” Collier asked the audience about helping redesign Haiti. “It’s both vastly important in itself and it’s paradigmatic of this whole class of societies at the bottom.”
President and Founder of the Biomimicry Institute, Janine Benyus, spoke the following evening to an audience of more than five-hundred people. She grounded her speech on her understanding of biomimicry, the science and practice of asking, “How would nature solve this design challenge?”
Interim Chair of the Department of Architecture, Professor Gail Brager, introduced Benyus with the story of Benyus’s journey from nature writer to a leading theorist. “Over the course of ten years, between 1983 and 1993, Janine wrote five books about wildlife and animal behavior. As she learned more and more about how well animals create, manage, and adapt to their environments, a funny thing happened. She became more and more bothered by her observations about how poorly human beings do the same thing. And that angst that she felt turned out to be a very good thing for all of us, because she turned that combination of frustration and curiosity into a new direction of research.”
Benyus’s speech underscored the highly optimistic sense of the series of keynote addresses with her outlook on the possibilities of sustainable, naturally harmonious design. “Interestingly in the next thirty years, eighty percent of the buildings in this country are either going to be remodeled or built new,” she told the capacity crowd at the I House Chevron Auditorium, “So you guys are going to be building larger nests.”
The final keynote speech on Friday, February 5, was entitled, “Designed to Hesitate: Consciousness as Paying Attention” from University of Chicago Emerita Art Professor Barbara Maria Stafford. Stafford pulled from several fields in her fascinating lecture. The speech began a discussion between the mind-science of the humanities and the brain-science of neurobiology, which will hopefully lead to developments in both fields.
City & Regional Planning Professor Michael Dear introduced Stafford to the audience. He quoted his and Stafford’s mutual friend and colleague Hilary Schor, “Barbara Stafford is a visionary and a prophet. The others who follow write the laws. You can make what you will of that, but you can see what she meant when you see Barbara’s presentation.”
Left: Barbara Stafford, Professor Emerita of Art History at the University of Chicago, spoke about design and consciousness in her lecture at International House; Center: Professor Manuel Castells, Wallis Annenberg Chair in Communications & Society at USC, spoke about reinventing urbanism in a time of economic crisis. (Photos: Adrianne Koteen)
Stafford’s lecture focused on the difference between “voluntary and involuntary attention.” Building on breakthroughs in the neurosciences, Stafford argued that contemporary technological media — the use of cell phones, for example — erode the part of the brain designed to allow for conscious, voluntary attentiveness. She proposed a “pedagogy of attentiveness,” challenging the education system to stimulate the part of the brain which “hesitates,” and therefore, reasonably solves problems.
On Saturday morning, USC University Professor and Wallis Annenberg Chair in Communications & Society Manuel Castells reopened the discussion on the future of CED. His talk, “Reinventing Urbanism in a Time of Economic Crisis,” engaged the crowd with the legendary academic’s thoughts on what can be learned from the current economic meltdown.
CED Dean Jennifer Wolch introduced Castells. She said, “To say that Manuel is prolific and prodigious does not actually quite capture the situation.” She then listed several decades’ worth of accomplishments before adding, “Professor Castells is the world’s foremost theorist of the power of communication.”
Left to right: Professor Dana Cuff (Ph.D. ’82), Director of cityLAB at UCLA, with Professor Michael Dear and CED Dean Jennifer Wolch.
Castells aroused the morning crowd with his thoughts. “So there is a way of reinventing urbanism,” he said. “The ideas are there. The political will of literally millions of people are there. But, it’s also important to study these connections between ideas and practice. And in that sense the College [of Environmental Design] has been and, I hope, will be important. The College can continue to reinvent urbanism … This is the College that has been at the forefront of rethinking the ways we live in cities and beyond for generations.”
Castells’s speech was followed by a panel, “Futures of Environmental Design Education at CED.” The panel featured some of CED’s most engaged junior faculty, recent alumni, and graduate students. Among those who spoke were: Allegra Bukojemsky, Landscape Architect and Leader at Biohabitats, San Francisco; John Cary, Executive Director at Public Architecture, San Francisco; Susanne Cowan, Ph.D. Candidate, Architecture, and Graduate Student Instructor; Bill Eisenstein, Executive Director, Center for Resource Efficient Communities, UC Berkeley; Malo André Hutson, Assistant Professor of City and Regional Planning; Ron Rael, Assistant Professor of Architecture; and, Renee Roy, Ph.D. Student, City and Regional Planning.
Speakers at the CED 50th Anniversary Symposium: Visualizing the Future of Environmental Design. Left to right: Assistant Professor Malo Hutson (MCP ’99), Allegra Bukojemsky (MLA ’02), Bill Eisenstein (Ph.D. ’05), Susanne Cowan, John Cary (M.Arch ’03), Professor Dana Cuff (Ph.D. ’82), Professor Manuel Castells, Assistant Professor Ron Rael, Renee Roy, and CED Dean Jennifer Wolch. (Photo: Adrianne Koteen)
Alumna Allegra Bukojemsky (MLA ’02)
The panel showcased CED’s potential to stay at the forefront of research and practice during the next fifty years. “We think of ourselves as problem-solvers,” John Cary explained as his view of CED’s function. “One of the opportunities we have, that Prof. Castells and others have talked about, is to identify problems and propose solutions, and really, I think, that’s something, employed or not, we have the opportunity to do.”
Dana Cuff capped the spring program with a talk on the importance of the optimism established through the series of speeches and panels. She elegantly looked back over the past four days, with the conclusion that CED “may be the best site to build back into the world a role for design.”
Left to right: Interim Chair of the Department of Architecture Gail Brager, President and Founder of the Biomimicry Institute Janine Benyus, and CED Dean Jennifer Wolch.
Professors Michael Dear and Mike Tietz
“The city is really our mutual project,” Cuff observed, “and I want to emphasize the word ‘project’ here, where landscape architecture, planning, and architecture are necessary because none of us can do it alone. It’s the commitment here to social, historical, and technological research combined with the force of design that will turn that research and action into new solutions.”
The group then gathered to hear a talk entitled “The Next Economy: Transforming Energy and Infrastructure Investment,” by Bruce Katz, Vice President of the Brookings Institution and Founding Director of its Metropolitan Policy Program. Katz sees “The Great Recession” as an opportunity to reinvent the American economy and reestablish the nation’s place in the world. He spoke about four things that are vital to this goal.
Katz first challenged the audience to visualize an economy where more firms in more sectors trade more goods and services seamlessly with the world, particularly with the rising nations that are rapidly urbanizing and industrializing. Second, he asked everyone to imagine a world where America not only leads the global transition to sustainable growth but uses breakthroughs in technology and practice to spark a production revolution at home, and drive wealth creation and sustainable growth.
The people in this room and the sectors and constituencies you represent are illustrative of the energy and potential of metropolitan America.
— Bruce Katz
He then proposed that the next economy will be rooted in and led by metropolitan America. The real heart of the American economy — 100 metropolitan areas that after decades of growth take up only 12 percent of our land mass — harbor two-thirds of our population and generate 75 percent of our gross domestic product. This is the new economic geography, enveloping city and suburb, exurb and rural town in one seamlessly integrated whole.
Finally Katz proposed that to build the next economy, the U.S. must connect macro vision to metro reality, the macro to the metro. The U.S. needs a playbook that is uniquely aligned to our entrepreneurial nation, where quality growth and jobs emerge from the DNA of metropolitan America: private firms, research institutions, investors, governments, trade associations, philanthropy, and labor.
Our challenge is to convert the dynamism in this metropolis … into solutions that are pragmatic, far reaching and critical to this moment. We must move as quickly as possible to change the mental map of our nation from a constitutional union of 50 states to an economic network of highly connected, hyperlinked, and seamlessly integrated metropolitan areas.
— Bruce Katz
Katz presented a compelling and inspiring case for the vital importance of supporting CED and the University of California as a whole. Our institutions, he argued, are essential to reestablishing California’s economy and place as a world leader in intellectual and socially beneficial thought. Just a day after presenting the same case to Governor Schwarzenegger, Katz stated that CED is, “a unique, pragmatic, grounded voice in the coming debate over jobs and economy and investment. Let that voice be heard!”
We are grateful to all who made the 50th Anniversary Gala a most memorable evening and who contributed founding gifts to the 50th Anniversary Student Support Fund. We are also grateful to our leadership committee, which helped to make the gala possible.
50th Anniversary Gala Leadership Committee
- Robert (’78) and Millicent Lalanne
- Robert Steinberg (’77) and Alice Erber
- Lydia Tan (’83) and John Barton (’83)
- Caitlin Lempres-Brostrom (’90) and Nathan Brostrom
- Mary Corley (’95) and Jeff Bond Cordelia Hill (’79)
- Brad Inman
- Fred (’68) and Beth (’66) Karren
- Richard (’68) and Bonnie Keating
- John (’61) and Katherine Kriken
- Janet Moody (’81) and John McMurtry (’83)
- Judd Williams (’90) and Anne Bonaparte
- Robert (’68) and Sheryl (’67) Wong
The evening was introduced by CED’s new dean, Jennifer Wolch. She informed the audience of CED’s long history, and defined the College’s function as an institution. “(William) Wurster wrote, ‘Our first duty is toward our students, of course, but we have another and very pressing duty. That is our duty to California, as a fast-growing and increasingly urban state, and we must serve her well in creating beauty, preventing disorder, and making the best use and preservation of her natural resources. Hills, water, land, and forests must all be carefully conserved as the structures of man compete for the space they occupy.’”
Professor of Architecture Paul Groth followed Wolch, introducing Dell Upton, professor and chair of UCLA’s Art History Department. Groth commended Upton for his distinguished career and original research and publishing.
Upton’s lecture, titled “Architectural History and the CED Idea,” traced the role of Architectural History in relation to the conception of CED. Upton expounded on Wurster’s idea of CED by saying, “Part of the insider/outsider discourse in architecture is that architectural education should be both integrative and disruptive.”
Professor Emeritus of City & Regional Planning Mike Tietz brought Sir Peter Hall to the stage. He said, “Peter is probably the preeminent scholar and historian of planning and urbanism perhaps in the world today.”
Sir Peter Hall, Professor Emeritus of City and Regional Planning who currently teaches at University College, London, continued the enlightening retrospective on CED’s past fifty years with his talk, “Planning Past and Future: Early 21st Century Reflections.”
“I would like to commemorate the college as an example of what a college truly is and should be,” Hall told the crowd, “and that is an assemblage of scholars pursuing their individual lines of research, but in a form of deep exchange of ideas and knowledge. That is what CED was founded to do fifty years ago and so triumphantly continues to do today.”
In a special ceremony, UC Berkeley Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost George Breslauer awarded Professor Emeritus of Architecture Sam Davis with The Berkeley Citation, Berkeley’s highest honor to its faculty. The honor is given for distinguished or extraordinary service to the University. The Berkeley Citation remains confidential prior to being awarded, which made for a touching scene as Davis was called to the stage. Breslauer read some of the nomination letters received for Davis. Professor of Architecture Mary Comerio wrote, “His work on housing the homeless demonstrates the importance of social responsibility and ethical professional practice as an example for our college and university.”
The evening concluded with a lovely reception outside in the Wurster Hall Courtyard.
On Saturday, the celebration continued with two engaging panel discussions. Russ Ellis led the first panel of emeriti professors, including Clare Cooper Marcus, Stanley Saitowitz, and Michael Teitz, in a conversation about the historical and philosophical roots of CED’s approach to design and planning education. Harrison Fraker then led a panel of some of our most accomplished alumni, including Ray Kappe, Carol Galante, and Mario Schjetnan, in a discussion of the impacts of CED on the professions.
I think the abiding sense I have at the end of this morning is how we reconcile the CED vision, what this college was founded for 50 years ago, and what it continues to practice, with the changes that occur in the outside world, which have been, as we’ve seen in various presentations, so profound over half a century.
— Sir Peter Hall
The Professors Emeriti Panel, “History and Traditions of Design Activism,” focused on the development of CED as an academic institution and a place for creative endeavor. Professor Emerita Marcus succinctly put it near the end of the panel, “We should be getting people out of Wurster Hall. As teachers, I think we need to get out of this building — sorry to those who currently teach in this building, as I did for most of my life — and get out into the real environment … and teach something different. Be creative in how we teach.”
The second panel, featuring some of our most gifted alumni out in the environmental design fields, was titled “Legacies of Environmental Design Education at CED.” Carol Galante, of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; Ray Kappe, founder of the Southern California Institute of Architecture; and Mario Schjetnan, founder of Grupo de Diseño Urbano, discussed how their time at the CED helped them develop the ideas and impulses that led to their success.
“We had one studio in which landscape, planning, and architecture came together to do a project — A Planning Study of Berkeley,” Ray Kappe spoke of his time at Berkeley. “And that was one of my best experiences here. This one (project) was really very, very important to me.”
Sir Peter Hall returned to give the Concluding Remarks for the fall program. He said he had a hard time summing up an incredibly rich set of discussions. He did so marvelously, though, with some final reflections about understanding how differently things were done fifty years ago as compared with today.
“What are we up to in CED?” Hall asked the audience. “What should we be up to? All that I’ve heard this morning tells me, and I’m sure it’s told you, that the essence of what CED is for, is to really understand the relationship between people, nature, and buildings.”
“I think the abiding sense I have at the end of this morning,” Sir Peter Hall said, “is how we reconcile the CED vision, what this college was founded for 50 years ago, and what it continues to practice, with the changes that occur in the outside world, which have been, as we’ve seen in various presentations, so profound over half a century.”
On Sunday, the celebration continued beyond Wurster Hall with expeditions to locations around the East Bay and Napa Valley. Alumni and faculty led tours of their projects that focused on innovative design, affordable housing, environmental planning, historic preservation and other aspects of sustainability.
The Napa tours included visiting the Parduxx Winery, built by Gould Evans | Baum Thornley, Inc. The tour was led by the firm’s principal, Douglas Thornley, and showcased the traditional agricultural building complex plan with a unique ten-sided fermentation facility, that was inspired by the form of traditional round barns.
The other Napa tour visited Opus One Winery, built by Johnson Fain. Principal Scott Johnson led the group through the 70,000 square foot, low-profile structure, exploring the dual role of iconic structure and functioning winery. Johnson highlighted the role of the architecture as an expression of the wine made there.
Among the several engaging East Bay tours was the visit to William Wurster’s Greenwood Common. The tour was led by Waverly Lowell, author of Living Modern: A Biography of Greenwood Common. Participants on this tour learned the history of how the buildings and landscape came to be and toured three of the exceptional houses and gardens.
Another of the other fascinating tours highlighting CED’s influence on East Bay architecture was Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland. This tour was led by the building’s designer, Craig W. Hartman, who is a partner at Skidmore, Owens, and Merrill. With a building form based on an inner wooden vessel contained within a veil of glass, the tour showed, the design conveys an inclusive statement of welcome and openness as the community’s symbolic soul.
The other East Bay tours included a trip to Strawberry Creek Park in Berkeley, which was led by Professor Matt Kondolf and Jane Wardani, with commentary from Carole Schemmerling and Roger Leventhal. Members of the CED community also took a boat trip, led by Caltrans Engineer Brian Maroney, to the Bay Bridge and Treasure Island.
A final group visited the Salt Flats in the South Bay. CED Professor and kite photographer Cris Benton, along with microbiologist Wayne Lanier, led a three-mile hike to their favorite spot at the South Bay salt ponds, an unassuming drainage ditch they have dubbed “The Weep.” At the Weep, Cris got out his kite and showed how he captures surprisingly beautiful images of the landscape using the wind and a homemade remote for his camera. Meanwhile, Wayne set up his field microscopes to inspect the amazingly diverse creatures that create the colors and textures we see in Cris’ aerial photos.
The celebration concluded on Sunday night with a reception at The David Brower Center in Downtown Berkeley. The building’s competition-winning design builds upon the inherent richness in the combination of affordable housing, environmental education, and a venue for the intersection of art and ecology. This reception and talk was hosted by Daniel Solomon, Principal at WRT | Solomon E.T.C. Architecture & Urban Design, the firm behind the Brower Center.
From September 25–December 22, 2009, an exhibit curated by Professor Raymond Lifchez with the assistance of Carrie McDade entitled, Environmental Design/A New Modernism: 50th Anniversary of the College of Environmental Design, 1959-2009 graced the Volkmann Reading Room in the Environmental Design Library. The exhibit focuses on seminal moments from 1959 to 2009 in the evolution of the CED founders’ vision, whereby teaching, research, and practice were informed by the social and natural sciences. In recent decades, this vision has come to include the computer sciences. It features original drawings, photographs, documents, books, and artifacts drawn from the Environmental Design Archives, the Environmental Design Library, the Bancroft Library, the University Archives, IURD and CEDR, and private collections.