Re-Imagining CED’s Built Environment

As the College of Environmental Design seeks to understand and redefine how people around the world experience the built environment, we are challenged to look at the ways in which our own spaces influence how we work and learn.

CED’s facilities for studio instruction — the hallmark of a design education — are 50 years old. By rethinking the outdated design models that define our current studio environment, we have the opportunity to create 21st century studios with the technology and adaptable design systems that encourage a culture of experimentation and creative interaction. Smart classroom design solutions that are flexible and foster collaboration are critical to educating future environmental design and planning students and preparing them for a world in which cross-disciplinary team work is essential.

Flex Studio
Flex Studio Enlarge [+]

Flex Studio

The Flex Studios initiative will refashion our existing studio space to provide multiple platforms for creativity, research and design collaboration, and to allow learning spaces to serve as better models for collaborative professional spaces.

The studio redesign will incorporate flexible furniture systems and increased space for collaboration and dialogue, allowing for open exchanges during the design process that reflect the challenges and excitement of professional life. that will enable students and faculty to think about the built environment through different lenses.

The new design will bring together students from multiple departments and promote a cross-pollination of ideas.

Our goal is to reconfigure and upgrade seven floors of studio space in Wurster Hall. The redesign requires replacing outdated furniture, offering ergonomic student workstations, providing functional meeting areas, and expanding digital and traditional pin-up areas. The strategy is based on a flexible “studio kit of parts” that can be reconfigured easily and adapted to any number of potential educational contexts. The kit will include height-adjustable desks, work tables, and ergonomic stools; custom fabricated metal grid studio divider system with power speedway, task lighting, shelf and pin-up space; technology facilities including rendering computers and plotters; collaboration tables for model building, group discussion and information interaction; a kitchenette; and two presentation and review rooms featuring extensive pin-up space as well as cutting edge electronic display technology.

How You Can Help

Give to CED

The estimated costs to update Wurster Hall’s studios will total $8–10 million. Our goal is to update all studio floors by 2020. But we are starting with a pilot program to completely renovate one floor in 2014–15. The cost of completing this pilot floor is $1.5 million.

We have a generous and willing partner in our efforts. Recognizing the importance of this studio redesign project for our students and faculty, campus leadership has agreed to provide a 2:1 match for any gifts to the College of Environmental Design’s new Flex Studio Fund.

Please join us in meeting this critical need and ensuring a first-rate educational experience for our students, by donating a new student workstation, putting your name on a new state-of-the art review room or studio bay — or even an entire studio floor. Become a part of the lasting legacy that will propel the CED studios to the forefront of 21st century innovation in design and planning education.

Gregg Perloff: Enlivening the Urban Experience

While, today, urban planning journals are filled with evidence substantiating the impact of arts and culture on cities, it was certainly not the case when Gregg Perloff (MCP, ’76) was a graduate student in the 70’s at the College of Environmental Design’s Department of City & Regional Planning.

Driven to understand this inter-relationship, in spite of some pushback for wanting to color outside the lines of what were then considered legitimate fields of urban planning study, Perloff persevered with the help of faculty like Melvin Webber, then director of Berkeley’s Institute of Urban and Regional Development.

Gregg Perloff at the Greek Theater
Gregg Perloff at the Greek Theater Enlarge [+]

It is not a stretch to see the path that led him to where he is today — head of one of the most influential entertainment companies on the West Coast and one of the key people responsible for the revitalization of downtown Oakland through the rebirth of the historic Fox Theater. By coloring outside the lines, Perloff expanded the palette that enlivens the Bay Area’s urban fabric.

As the son of Harvey S. Perloff, founding Dean of the Graduate School of Architecture and Urban Planning at UCLA, an appreciation for environmental design was perhaps inevitable.

“On vacations we’d be travelling to see a geodesic dome or to see a greenbelt around London. Other people are going to Hawaii and we were going to see the first solar home in Colorado,” he recounts.

Gregg Perloff swears that “it never occurred to me that I would make my living putting on concerts” but as an undergraduate at UCLA, and as a graduate student at Berkeley producing music events for SUPERB, he had something of a knack. After graduation, he convinced Betty Connors at the Committee for Arts and Lectures (now Cal Performances) to let him book concerts. Bringing in jazz greats such as Oscar Peterson, Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins, and Boz Scaggs caught the attention of legendary promoter Bill Graham and in 1977, just one year after completing his degree, Perloff was hired by Graham. He eventually took over as CEO of Bill Graham Presents in 1991.

In 2003, Perloff launched Another Plant Entertainment in Berkeley. The company books hundreds concerts a year, from world-renowned groups like Radiohead to local independent bands, and is responsible for producing the wildly successful Outlands Music & Arts Festival in Golden Gate Park, which in its first four years contributed over $4.3 million to San Francisco’s Recreation & Parks Department.

But it is the success of the Fox Theater and its significance as a hallmark of urban revitalization that makes Perloff light up.

Fox Theater
Fox Theater (Photo courtesy of Tom Tomkinson) Enlarge [+]

Closed for over 40 years, the Fox managed to survive the devastating blight that overtook downtown Oakland. Primarily responsible for the design of the theater and the vision for what was needed to attract significant audiences, Perloff and Another Planet worked with developer Phil Tagami, as well as dozens of other public and private development, planning, and financing entities to help realize then-Mayor Jerry Brown’s dream to revitalize downtown. The Fox and its adjoining Oakland School for the Arts are now the centerpiece of the thriving Uptown District.

“We opened the Fox and it’s the most successful theater in the Bay Area,” explains Perloff. “But how do you judge success? Well, we sell a lot of tickets. You also have success when the Oakland School of the Arts, in the first graduating class, places 100% of the students in a 4-year college or university. This is an Oakland public school – that’s pretty spectacular.”

Since 2004, Perloff’s company has also been the exclusive promoter for Berkeley’s 8,500-capacity Greek Theater. As a venue known throughout the world, he considers it a privilege to work with the legendary outdoor amphitheater. Hoping to “set up the Greek for its next 100 years” Perloff is currently involved with master planning to improve the theater’s public areas.

Gregg and Laura Perloff
Gregg and Laura Perloff Enlarge [+]

Berkeley holds special meaning for Gregg Perloff and he is grateful to CED for allowing him to follow his heart. In 1999, Gregg and his wife Laura established the Harvey S. Perloff Memorial Endowment Fund in memory of Perloff’s father, to support graduate students in the Department of City and Regional Planning.

In December of 2013, another generous gift from the Perloffs established the Gregg and Laura Perloff Graduate Student Excellence Award so that graduate students like Gregg, doing “off-center” work, have the resources to follow their passion in one of the world’s premier graduate programs in urban planning.

Doris and Ted Lee: Fostering the Future of Urban Redevelopment

Inspired by his father’s success in property investment, Ted Lee (Boalt JD ’59, Haas MBA ’66) was fairly certain that real estate was the right path to pursue. Nearly four decades later, Ted and his wife, Doris Shoong Lee, have clearly proven the wisdom of that choice.

Shortly after graduating from Harvard University and earning a J.D. and MBA from UC Berkeley, Ted Lee worked as an advisor on urban redevelopment projects for various minority communities in California. His efforts resulted in projects such as San Francisco’s Japantown and Jones Memorial Homes, Sacramento’s Chinatown, and the Filipino Center in Stockton.

Seeing the advantages and potential of being more directly involved in development, in 1972 Ted and Doris founded the Urban Land Company, a privately-held real estate investment and development firm in San Francisco and Las Vegas. The Lees’ portfolio now comprises a substantial and diverse range of properties, from casinos and hotels, to apartments and warehouses. The Urban Land Company remains family-run and is currently actively managed by Doris along with their two sons.

The Lees have been munificent community supporters and contributors to numerous projects in education and the arts. They have made major gifts to Harvard University, the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, and the Smith Center. Ted and Doris established the first endowed professorship at UNLV’s Boyd School of Law in 2011 and most recently have been recognized for their generous donation of $15 million to the UNLV College of Business, which has been renamed the UNLV Lee Business School.

Paul Sedway, Doris Lee, and Ted Lee
At CED 50th Anniversary Gala — Paul Sedway (’60) with Doris Lee and Ted Lee (’66). (Photo: Adrianne Koteen) Enlarge [+]

UC Berkeley has also benefitted tremendously from the Lees’ participation and support. Ted Lee was a Berkeley Fellow and served on the UC Berkeley Foundation and other committees. Doris currently serves as a Trustee of the UC Berkeley Foundation. In support of innovative programming at UC Berkeley, the Lees sponsored a series of major conferences on urban sustainability in 2012. Also that year, the Berkeley-Haas Las Vegas Chapter of the Haas Alumni Network recognized Ted Lee as the 2012 Alumnus of the Year. He has also previously received the Wheeler Oak Meritorious Award.

In 2009, Ted and Doris Lee endowed the Theodore B. and Doris Shoong Lee Distinguished Professorship in Real Estate Law and Urban Planning, to foster interdisciplinary collaboration between CED and Berkeley Law. The principal goal of the Professorship is to support the work of a distinguished Visiting Professor who is a practitioner to teach one graduate course per year with a focus on the intersection of real estate, urban planning, and land use/environmental law. The role includes advising students on research topics related to urban real estate, land use, or planning law, such as urban housing, zoning, finance, community development, or environmental impacts.

The 2013 Lee Chair was awarded to Paula Daniels. Daniels, an attorney who has been actively involved in California planning policy issues for over 20 years, was Senior Advisor to the Mayor of Los Angeles on Food Policy and Special Projects in Water, an LA City Public Works Commissioner, and Chair of the Los Angeles Food Policy Council. She has also served as a California Coastal Commissioner and on the governing board of the California Bay-Delta Authority.

The Lee Professorship was held by Cecilia Estolano in 2010 and again in 2011. A lawyer and expert in sustainable economic development and urban revitalization, Estolano was Of Counsel in the Los Angeles office of Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher where she focused on matters including land use, zoning, redevelopment and real estate. She also served as CEO of the Los Angeles Redevelopment Agency, was a Special Assistant Los Angeles City Attorney, and a Senior Policy Advisor with the U.S. EPA. She currently is a member of Estolano LeSar Perez Advisors LLC.

The interdisciplinary learning opportunities provided by the Theodore B. and Doris Shoong Lee Distinguished Professorship ignite new ways of thinking necessary to address the complex urban development issues of today. The generous support of the Lees, through their endowment and through their active participation in the life of the College of Environmental Design, will continue to help us achieve our ambitious goals for many years to come.

Kris Yao: Art, Technology, and a Little Luck

Renowned Taiwanese architect Kris Yao (M.Arch ’78) admits that he was lucky. As a young student entering Tunghai University and forced to choose a path, rather than pursue the expected routes of science or engineering, he decided to test for architecture and as luck would have it, discovered his passion.
Kris Yao
Kris Yao Enlarge [+]

Born and raised in Taipei, Kris Yao is one of Taiwan’s most highly regarded architects. He has won numerous awards including the National Award for Arts and Architecture — the highest honor in cultural and art disciplines in Taiwan. In 2002, Kris Yao represented Taiwan in the 8th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale and was invited again in 2008. In 2004, Yao was asked to present his project, the THSR Hsinchu Station, at the 1st International Architecture Biennale in Rotterdam, and also exhibited work at the 1st International Architecture Biennale in Beijing, China. Most recently, Yao received the Architizer A+ Award for his China Steel Corporation Headquarters in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. The College of Environmental Design recognized Yao with the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2005.

China Steel Corporation
China Steel Corporation Photography Jeffrey Cheng Enlarge [+]

Yao’s works include an enormous array of building types: corporate/industrial, residential, cultural, educational, medical, retail, and transportation. He is also known for his superb interior architecture. But he maintains a special passion for cultural and historically related projects, as well as projects that involve complex technology. As someone who spends more than his share of time traveling, Yao admits that he’d love to design an airport. This passion for art and technology in fact inspired the name of his firm, Artech Architects. Headquartered in Taipei with another office in Shanghai, the firm currently employs over 160 people.

Luck also played a role in Yao’s advanced education. While he applied to a variety of institutions in pursuit of his masters degree, Yao explains with a smile that he didn’t really chose Berkeley; Berkeley chose him.

Having never before visited the U.S., Yao was captivated by the free exchange of ideas, the diversity, and the lack of hierarchy that he encountered when he arrived on campus — a unique character unlike anything he previously experienced in Taiwan. He went on to receive his Masters of Architecture from CED in 1978.

Since then, Yao has maintained close ties with CED and has been a generous supporter of the college and campus, including contributions to the campaign for Wurster Hall, leading the Berkeley Taiwan Alumni Club, and sponsoring the recent 2012 Shanghai Berkeley Ball.

During his thesis work, Yao interviewed diverse interest groups and individuals, giving him the opportunity to immerse himself in the local community and American culture. While he’d always been interested in how design happens, his CED experience helped him more deeply understand the personal, social and political dynamics that shape design.

This relationship of the person to the built environment remains central to Yao’s work. He views architecture as a theatrical stage for the people who interact with the space. Comparing architecture to story-telling, he strives to communicate an experience that people can relate to — that although it may be like nothing they’ve ever before seen, there nevertheless should be a familiarity that touches the heart.

These concepts are perhaps no better exemplified than in Yao’s Wuzhen Grand Theater in the surreal water village of Zhejiang in southern China, where visitors arrive by wooden boats or on foot from an island across a bridge. The building, set to complete in May 2013, uses familiar local materials: reclaimed wood forms a graceful lattice across a fan-shaped glass facade and ancient massive bricks from the city wall clad another portion of the exterior.

Wuzhen Theater
Wuzhen Theater Enlarge [+]
Wuzhen Theater
Wuzhen Theater Enlarge [+]

For Yao, three things are vitally important in the design of a building: response to locality, craftsmanship and refined attention to the way a building is put together. In the design of the Wuzhen Theater, these values come together to create a structure that, though massive and modern, feels almost hand-made.

Buddhism also plays an important role in Yao’s work and his life. While Yao doesn’t adhere to a particular design philosophy, he likens his approach to the Zen art of “direct seeing.” This approach undoubtedly contributed to the design of the recently completed Water-Moon Monastery in Taipei where Master Sheng Yen imparted his vision for the building in six words: Flower in space, Moon in water. With this guiding principle, Yao created a design that reduces color and form to a minimum, conveying the spirit of Zen Buddhism. Yao used an innovative technique to void cast a Zen sutra in prefabricated GRC panels, painting the scripture in sunlight onto the interior surfaces.

Water-Moon Monastery
Water-Moon Monastery Photography Jeffrey Cheng Enlarge [+]
Water-Moon Monastery
Water-Moon Monastery Photography Jeffrey Cheng Enlarge [+]

Kris Yao looks with gratitude to Berkeley and the College of Environmental Design for the wisdom and experiences that have contributed to his success, “It’s a wonderful university that benefits many. I loved being a part of it.”

Dean Jennifer Wolch acknowledged Yao’s generosity, “Kris’s wonderful support over the years is greatly appreciated. We’re definitely lucky that Kris chose us.”

Lanyang Museum
Lanyang Museum Photography Jeffrey Cheng Enlarge [+]
Lanyang Museum
Lanyang Museum Photography Jeffrey Cheng Enlarge [+]
Building in Bhutan
Bhutan. One of 4 small buildings using only traditional materials: earth, timber, stone, and slate. Enlarge [+]
Building in Bhutan
Bhutan. Traditional materials with a modern aesthetic. Enlarge [+]

Michael Lin: Inspiring Support

Although Michael Lin graduated from CED with a degree in Architecture, he likes to say that he actually majored in extracurricular activities. And though, like many CED alumni, Lin chose a career path outside of design, his spirited “extracurricular” support of Berkeley and CED is still keeping him quite busy.

Michael Lin with son, James
Michael Lin with son, James Enlarge [+]

Originally attracted to UC Berkeley because of its academic reputation, Lin knew he’d made the correct choice when he first visited the campus and it “just felt right.” He initially enrolled in the College of Letters & Science, but transferred to CED on a whim because it merged his interest in design and liberal arts.

That design talent and Cal spirit combined early to fuel his outside activities when as a student tour guide, he and a few fellow guides decided that the University Visitor Services’ video needed an upgrade. Though now retired, their remake, The Many Voices of Cal, was used in recruiting and sent to all incoming freshmen for over five years. Lin continued to produce videos including one celebrating 2003 Alumnus of the Year Warren Hellman, which piqued Lin’s interest in finance and investing, ultimately leading him to his current career as a financial advisor with Ameriprise Financial.

In spite of being employed outside of the design professions, Lin’s design education permeates much of his life and he acknowledges its value for many professions beyond the sphere of architecture, landscape, and planning, “It’s been especially useful in visually communicating and presenting complex information more clearly.” Lin also applies his design training to a variety of personal projects. For example, he created the artwork for the Cal at Sundance alumni networking event — a project in which he’s heavily involved, now going on its third year — at the famed Sundance Film Festival, and for other Cal events as well.

Sundance and Oski posters
Left: Cal at Sundance poster; right: Oski poster Enlarge [+]

Over the years, Lin’s enthusiastic support fueled a history of campus involvement: in addition to his tour guide duties as a student, Lin was a member of the Cal Rally Committee, the ASUC, and co-founder of SEArch — Students for Environmental ARCHitecture.

More recently, he co-chaired UC Berkeley’s tenth reunion campaign committee for the Class of 2001, raising over $340,000 for the university, and currently serves as a reviewer of undergraduate admissions applications.

Michael Lin with reunion class donation check
Michael Lin with reunion class donation check Enlarge [+]

Acknowledging his belief in the crucial role the university plays in shaping the world, Lin is unwavering in promoting the merits of supporting Cal. As he sees it, what one does for oneself alone is fleeting, only lasting for one lifetime, but what you give to an institution has an enduring effect over generations.

And Lin’s contributions have not gone unnoticed. He was awarded the University of California Berkeley Foundation’s Young Bear Award in 2011 for outstanding achievement on a fundraising project and successful outreach to the community or alumni. And in March 2012, he received the Cal Alumni Association’s Bradford S. King Award for Excellence in Service by a Young Alumnus.

Michael Lin with Brad King award
Michael Lin receiving the Bradley S. King Award for Excellence Enlarge [+]

Crediting Dean Wolch with making significant positive headway in providing direction, building support and reaching out to make CED stronger, Lin was naturally honored when she recently asked him to join the Dean’s Advisory Council. He’s excited to help CED continue its trajectory by encouraging engagement and promoting a culture of giving back, and hopes that the Council’s successful efforts might potentially be replicated in other schools within the university.

As a student, Lin was inspired by the independent thinkers that surrounded and mentored him — those engaged in social issues who modeled their lives on their own terms. His advice to students preparing to graduate is to work hard and push forward in a chosen direction, but most importantly to design a uniquely individual path and make time for those things that are meaningful. “We are most energetic and creative when we are inspired and do the things that we love.”

Bob Lalanne: Building Real Value for CED

As UC Berkeley and other universities across California struggle with the challenge of state disinvestment, Bob Lalanne (B.A. Architecture, 1978) sees new opportunities to create long-term value for the campus and is working hard to support that effort.

Bob not only has strong ties to UC Berkeley—both his parents attended the university and his two daughters are Berkeley students and members of the Cal women’s club lacrosse team—but also a tremendous appreciation for the skills he acquired as a CED student and Cal athlete. “The diversity, competition, opportunities, incubation of ideas—always questioning or asking why—the intellectual powerhouse of faculty across multiple disciplines was very special.”

Bob and Millicent Lalanne
Bob and Millicent Lalanne Enlarge [+]

As president of The Lalanne Group, a San Francisco-based real estate development company, this multi-disciplinary approach has been the foundation of his success as a developer of some of the Bay Area’s best-known real estate projects. A career spanning more than 30 years has fostered his passion for creating high-quality, mixed-use urban infill projects. He has developed over 1,000 housing units in the Bay Area, some of which are anchored by Falletti Foods, Safeway, and Whole Foods.

Bob’s desire to take the knowledge he gained at Cal and in his career to create lasting value for CED and the university led him to become involved in giving back almost 15 years ago. Realizing the revenue-generating opportunity Cal possesses in its significant non-academic real-estate holdings, Bob became chair of the UC Berkeley Foundation’s Finance and Administration Committee. He also currently chairs the Real Estate sub-committee which he created and is the first head of the College of Environmental Design (CED) Advisory Council. In 2010, Bob and his wife Millicent co-chaired CED’s 50th Anniversary Gala, reflecting their status as generous and longstanding benefactors of the college. In addition to CED, the couple created the Lalanne Family Scholarship for Men’s and Women’s Athletics at Cal and are Builders of Berkeley.

Continuing their commitment to CED, Bob and Millicent have recently made a generous pledge of $1 million, matched by the Hewlett Foundation, for the creation of the Robert J. and Millicent C. Lalanne Chair in Real Estate Development, Architecture and Urbanism. Acknowledging the historic role of the architect as master designer-builder now challenged with complex issues of finance, market economies, sustainability, smart growth, social and cultural transformation, and technological innovation, the Lalanne Chair will address the need for the broad perspective, interdisciplinary knowledge and leadership skills to solve these new urban development challenges.

CED Dean Jennifer Wolch praised the Lalannes’ many significant contributions. “We’re extremely grateful to Bob and Millicent for their generous pledge and incredible support of CED. Along with this gift, the time and talent that Bob has devoted to CED and Berkeley will create a truly lasting legacy.”

The creation of the Chair was inspired by Bob’s own experience—and that of his fellow developers, urban planners and architects—and his conviction that successful place-making demands a broad base of knowledge and the ability to collaborate in an array of fields including design, planning, real estate finance, building operations, public policy, economics, law, engineering, construction and social science.

The Lalanne Chair will serve as a bridge to the fields within the College of Environmental Design as well as other UC Berkeley schools and colleges, in particular the Haas School of Business and its real estate program, the Goldman School of Public Policy, the College of Engineering and the Berkeley School of Law.

Bob acknowledged the foundations of his achievements explaining, “At Berkeley you learned to be a self-starter, an advocate, to reach high, to make a difference all in the context of an extremely intellectual environment with great access to great minds. It was a privilege to be a part of it.”

Prizes, Professorships, and (no small) Plans

In this Fall 2012 issue of FRAMEWORKS, I am pleased to offer some important news of the college. First, Deborah Berke, the New York City-based architect widely recognized for her design excellence, scholarly achievement and commitment to moving the practice of architecture forward in innovative ways, has been selected as the first recipient of UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design inaugural 2012 Berkeley-Rupp Architecture Professorship and Prize. I could not be more delighted, for Deborah Berke exemplifies everything this prize is meant to celebrate. The excellence of her craft, her creative approach to sustainability, and her willingness to mentor women in the field and share her ideas and expertise make her the perfect person to receive the inaugural Berkeley-Rupp Prize and Professorship.

Deborah Berke
Deborah Berke Enlarge [+]

The Berkeley-Rupp Prize and ProfessorshipThe Berkeley-Rupp Prize and Professorship, a $100,000 award made possible through a generous bequest to the campus by alumna Sigrid Lorenzen Rupp, is to be awarded biennially to a distinguished practitioner or academic who has made a significant contribution to promoting the advancement of women in the field of architecture, and whose work emphasizes a commitment to sustainability and the community.

Deborah Berke is founder of the New York City-based architecture firm Deborah Berke Partners, and is also an adjunct professor of architectural design at Yale University. Please save the date: Deborah will deliver a public lecture the evening of January 28 at Wurster Hall Gallery at the opening of an exhibit of her work.

C. Greig Crysler
C. Greig Crysler Enlarge [+]

Turning to faculty news, over the past three years, generous donors have endowed four professorial chairs, through $1 million gifts matched by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. I am delighted to report that Associate Professor of Architecture C. Greig Crysler has been appointed the Arcus Chair in Gender, Sexuality, and the Built Environment. Named after the Arcus Foundation, a private philanthropic organization founded by Jon Stryker, the chair builds on the work of the Arcus Endowment he established in 2000. Energetically led by Greig, the Endowment has sponsored a rich program including research grants and awards, installations and exhibits, and a visiting scholar-in-residence program.

Greig’s research focuses on the history of architectural theory, and the role of architecture in processes such as nationalism, globalization, and the cultural politics of difference. His books include, Writing Spaces: Discourses of Architecture, Urbanism and the Built Environment, 1960–2000 (2003) and he is co-editor, with Stephen Cairns and Hilde Heynen, of the Sage Handbook of Architectural Theory (2012). Greig, who served as Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies from 2008–2012, offers courses at the intersection between architecture, ethics and activism.

Lastly, I am happy to report that CED has embarked on an ambitious strategic planning exercise. The College of Environmental Design, founded in 1959, was premised on a shared vision and deep commitments to social responsibility, a place-based approach to design, and allowing students to shape their educational experience. With generous state resources, CED faculty went on to build specific disciplinary strengths and pedagogical models that together became the enduring signature of the college. Fast forward to today, and it is clear things have radically changed. New challenges face cities and regions around the world. Faculty have new interests, intellectual frameworks and methodological tools. Different sorts of careers are open to those with a CED degree. And with less than 11% of UC Berkeley’s revenue coming from state general funds, the financial context of UC Berkeley and hence the college is very different compared to 1959.

Wurster Hall
Coming Soon in 2013: Berkeley Circus and Soiree Enlarge [+]

With these dynamics in mind, I asked the CED faculty last spring to undertake a strategic plan for the college. The basic charge was to address three fundamental questions: What new societal problems, intellectual arenas, and design challenges should we tackle in the future? How should our pedagogy change to reflect these new directions? And how can we maintain both academic excellence and access to a CED education?

The faculty response was enthusiastic and positive. Together, we are committed to producing a brief, elegant statement of vision and values developed on the basis of input from faculty, alumni, students, and staff. We will also establish a series of concrete, funded initiatives that will move us from vision to implementation. In the process, we aim to invent a college culture and practice for the 21st century.

David K. Woo:Continuing to Build a Legacy for CED

David K. Woo ’67 credits his parents with knowing that UC Berkeley was the perfect place for his higher education. Now a successful architect, businessman and developer in Hong Kong, and director of the Hong Kong-based Woo Hon Fai Holdings, Woo made an impact at Cal even in his early years.

Newly arrived as a freshman at Berkeley in 1962, Woo’s introduction to American culture was swift, but he quickly adapted. While an architecture student, Woo became the senior manager of the Cal baseball team, traveling with the likes of soon-to-be major leaguers Andy Messersmith, Bill Nye and Bill Frost.

David Woo
David K. Woo Enlarge [+]

Upon his graduation in 1967 as a member of one of the first classes to graduate from Wurster Hall and the College of Environmental Design, Woo was immediately hired as resident architect for Rothschild & Riffin, the contractors of the University Art Museum, later re-named the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.

“I am proud to have been part of the building team for the University Art Museum,” says Woo. “It was a fantastic job for a greenhorn like me… my work really taught me how to build, though it was hard and dusty work.”

The award-winning structure designed by Mario Ciampi has since become a cultural hub in the Bay Area, showcasing the world’s finest art and film for hundreds of thousands of people.

When Mr. Woo left California to make his mark in the world of global business and commerce in Hong Kong, he continued to give back to Berkeley by serving on the BAM/PFA board.

Now CED is honored that Woo has chosen to bestow a gift of $1 million to endow a faculty chair in the College of Environmental Design. This gift is being matched with $1 million by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation as part of the Hewlett Challenge for Faculty Support. The David K. Woo Chair in the College of Environmental Design will support the work of an eminent faculty member in CED.

CED Dean Jennifer Wolch praised Woo’s philanthropy by saying, “We are extraordinarily grateful to David Woo for creating The David K. Woo Chair in the College of Environmental Design. This generous gift of faculty support is extremely important to CED and will benefit students and faculty for many generations to come.”

David Woo receiving award
David K. Woo Enlarge [+]

The $1 million gift to CED is part of a major gift of $15 million given by Woo to UC Berkeley to honor his late father, Woo Hon Fai. The Berkeley Art Museum building has been renamed Woo Hon Fai Hall, to pay homage to Mr. Woo’s father and to celebrate this historic building.

The elder Mr. Woo, OBE, was the founding chairman of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the president of the Gold and Silver Exchange Society of Hong Kong, the deputy Chairman of the Hong Kong Commodity Exchange, and the Vice Chairman of the Hong Kong Real Estate Association during his storied career. Queen Elizabeth made him a commander of the Order of the British Empire before his passing more than 30 years ago.

David Woo and family
David K. Woo Enlarge [+]
David Woo and family
David K. Woo Enlarge [+]

Woo, who is married and has two grown children, acknowledged his father’s influence by explaining, “In my life I was guided tremendously by the example of my father, whose hard work and contributions were crucial toward building the Hong Kong that we cherish today. By enshrining his memory, it is my hope that future generations of students, faculty, and campus visitors will learn a little bit more about him and his legacy.”

CED Update

Every day, there seems to be another news story about the dire state of higher education in California. With state government facing record deficits and the economy still struggling to recover, the University of California has been hard-hit with successive budget cuts.

UC Berkeley, despite its status as the system’s flagship campus, has not been exempt from resource reductions and staff layoffs. Funding from the state’s general fund now accounts for only about one-fifth of Cal’s budget; for the first time ever, both the share of funds from philanthropic support and the share from student fees exceeded contributions from the state. We are indeed living in interesting times!

Continue reading “CED Update”

The Arcus Chair in Gender, Sexuality, and the Built Environment

The College of Environmental Design recently announced a gift of $1 million from Jon L. Stryker that, combined with a match from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, will create a new $2 million endowed CED chair named the Arcus Chair in Gender, Sexuality, and the Built Environment. The chair is named for the Arcus Foundation, a private philanthropic organization founded by Jon Stryker that advances social justice and conservation issues internationally. The foundation maintains offices in Kalamazoo, Michigan; New York City; and Cambridge, UK. The creation of an endowed chair marks a new phase in Jon Stryker’s commitment to the college. The connection began in 2000 with the gift from the foundation that launched CED’s Arcus Endowment, a unique fund that has supported a wide array of critical and creative activities at the intersection of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) issues and architecture, city and regional planning, and landscape architecture.

For the first half of the last decade, the Arcus Endowment held an annual competition for small-grant funding to support an ambitious range of projects, including cutting-edge research, archival documentation, innovative teaching programs, and design activities, all centered on LGBTQ issues. The diverse results of the endowment’s awards program continue to enrich our understanding of cities, landscapes, and built environments by opening the various processes that shape design research, education, and practice to LGBTQ perspectives. Susan Stryker (no relation to Jon Stryker), a well-known Bay Area activist and associate professor in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Indiana at Bloomington, and Victor Silverman, an independent filmmaker and professor of history at Pomona College, received funds to complete research for the documentary film Screaming Queens: The Riots at Compton Cafeteria. Based on a script co-authored by Stryker and Silverman, the film won an Emmy and was also shown on PBS. The film tells the story behind the 1966 riots in San Francisco by transgender people against discriminatory policing. The Arcus Endowment also funded the design of an innovative temporary housing project by architect Sonny Ward using recycled cardboard to create shelters at Camp Sister Spirit, a feminist retreat and women’s safe space in rural Ovett, Mississippi. Other initiatives include an LGBTQ heritage map for walking tours of Seattle, Washington. The maps were produced by cultural geographers of queer space Larry Knopp (University of Washington at Tacoma) and Michael Brown (University of Washington at Seattle) in collaboration with the Northwest Gay and Lesbian History Museum Project. Some of the endowment’s other projects flared brightly and had a brief but memorable impact, such as the events staged by an energetic but relatively short-lived CED student group irreverently called Queers in Space. Film nights, discussion groups, the production of a group website, and a design charrette for a possible LGBTQ history museum in San Francisco were part of the mix.

Jon L. Stryker
Jon L. Stryker

In 2006, the endowment shifted its resources towards creating a scholar-in-residence program. The first scholar, Annmarie Adams, was resident in 2008. Adams, a graduate of UC Berkeley’s M.Arch. and Ph.D. programs, is currently the William C. Macdonald Professor at the School of Architecture at McGill University. During her residency, she initiated an interdisciplinary seminar on sexuality and space entitled Sex and the Single Building, attended by students from CED and a wide cross-section of campus departments. She also completed a research project on the Weston Havens house, a seminal example of mid-century Bay Area modernism now owned by CED. Her Havens house research was published in the spring 2010 issue of Buildings and Landscapes; a second project, begun in Berkeley in 2008, on gender-variant children and their bedrooms, was recently featured in the German journal FKW//Zeitschrift fur geschlechterforschung und visuelle kultur. In September 2010, Adams became the director of the McGill Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies, where she continues to draw upon insights gained during her year as the Arcus scholar-in-residence. The New York architect and Yale University professor Joel Sanders also completed a residency in the spring of 2010. He delivered a public lecture and taught an intensive interdepartmental seminar, both entitled “Human/Nature: Gender Sexuality and the Landscape Architecture Divide,” that explored how the design approaches and codes of professional conduct that separate architects and landscape architects are rooted in cultural conceptions about gender and sexuality. Research conducted at Berkeley formed the basis of his forthcoming book Groundworks: Between Landscape and Architecture (co-edited with Diana Balmori), to be released by Monacelli Press in the fall of 2011. Over the years, the Arcus Endowment has also sponsored an annual lecture as part of the Department of Architecture’s spring lecture series. Past speakers have included Alice T. Friedman, Professor of Architectural History at Wellesley College and author of Women and the Making of the Modern House, and Henry Urbach, Curator of Architecture and Design at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Though funding for the Arcus Endowment came from the Arcus Foundation, the visionary thinking behind the gift belongs to Jon Stryker, a graduate (1989) of the M.Arch. program at CED. After he left CED, he went on to work in architectural practice in Kalamazoo, Michigan (his hometown), before establishing the foundation in 2000. The knowledge Jon gained of the profession, both through his own experiences and those of his friends and colleagues across the United States, convinced him of the need for an endowment that would support and make the contributions of LGBTQ professionals better known, while also working to combat homophobia at school, in professional institutions, and in the workplace.

As program director for the endowment from its inception until 2010, I worked alongside Department of Architecture faculty members Paul Groth and Roddy Creedon, Environmental Design Archives Curator Waverly Lowell, CED Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs Gary Brown, and a national advisory board to shape the direction of the endowment. There was a mutual understanding from the beginning of the historic nature of the fund, to our knowledge the only one of its kind in a similar institutional setting anywhere in the world. We all benefited from Jon’s encouragement and enthusiasm. In the first few years, when the endowment was getting off the ground, he attended annual lectures and expressed an interest in the outcomes of the awards program. His experience as president of the Arcus Foundation has proved invaluable over the years as we developed the endowment’s agenda and its outlook matured.

The establishment of the Arcus Chair in Gender, Sexuality, and the Built Environment opens a new chapter in CED’s efforts to develop pedagogy focused on design and difference. The new position will enable CED to build on the energy and excitement of the Arcus Endowment and lead the way in creating more equitable environments for LGBTQ communities in the Bay Area and internationally.