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Perspective : Arts Quad
The Arts Quad is redesigned to create an active center for the arts disciplines around it, including spaces for performances and art exhibits as well as casual conversation and study.

The work of the university today no longer fits neatly within self-contained disciplines. Because research and instruction today are increasingly team-based and multidisciplinary, the campus must be re-envisioned to foster the interaction and information-sharing this new culture demands. Leading edge biotechnology, infotechnology, and creative services firms understand the value of places of interaction, and design for them as a matter of course: they are just as crucial to the work of the research university.

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Strategic Goals  Top

Capital investment shall foster social and intellectual community by:
  • making spaces conducive to creative interaction a priority in new projects.

  • creating places of interaction at key nodes of campus activity.

  • ensuring investments in the library enhance its role as an intellectual commons.

  • establishing a strategic program of investments in the teaching infrastructure.

  • transforming the Sproul complex into an active 24 hour center for student life and services.

  • completing the new campus interbuilding information infrastructure.

  • making upgrades to intrabuilding information systems a priority in new projects.

Places of Interaction  Top

While the compact size of the campus encourages an interactive community, its physical design does not. Buildings on the Berkeley campus provide few interior spaces conducive to informal and unstructured interaction, although the thriving cafe in Moffitt Library shows how productive such places can be.

The same is true for exterior spaces: few places are designed and furnished to be conducive to social interaction, and even fewer have any sort of visual link to the activity within the buildings around them. This is a special dilemma for the growing numbers of faculty and students who use the campus at night: exterior spaces unlit and unobserved by active interior spaces are perceived as unsafe.

Policy 4.1
Make spaces conducive to creative interaction a priority in new capital investments.

Each major capital investment should include careful consideration of how intellectual community can be advanced through design. The Haas School of Business has set a new standard for how campus buildings can be designed with intellectual community in mind. The new Stanley Hall, for example, will have both a student lounge and cafˇ facing the Mining Circle.

Initiative 4.2
Define a program of investments in places of interaction, and a sequence for implementation.

While the campus has a wide variety of open spaces, those shown in figure 4.1 have potential to be true 'places of interaction', because:
  • they are located on or at the confluence of major pedestrian routes, and/or
  • they are framed by multiple buildings housing a variety of academic programs.
To realize this potential, however, requires an integrated design strategy, to address the quality of the spaces themselves, and the programs and designs of the buildings around them. A comprehensive scope of landscape improvements for the campus is presented in conceptual form in the Portfolio: based on this scope, the Landscape Master Plan shall define a prioritized sequence of open space investments.

If the places of interaction are to become true 18- or even 24-hour centers of activity, their success depends on safe and comfortable access, particularly after dark. The Landscape Master Plan shall define standards of paving, lighting, wayfinding and furniture for major pedestrian routes.

Policy 4.3
Require each project facing a place of interaction to conform to the special provisions in the Design Guidelines.

The program and design of buildings adjacent to social open spaces is as important as the design of the spaces themselves. Lower Sproul Plaza, for example, was once a far more lively and memorable place: the design of the plaza itself has not changed, but the programs housed in the buildings facing it have become more internalized.

Both interior and exterior common spaces should be designed to help make the campus a safe place to work at any hour. While we must be able to ensure the security of buildings and their contents, we should also design at least our most active common spaces so they can be open as late as demand warrants, and locate them so they observe exterior paths and places and help make them safe.

The Design Guidelines prescribe several key features every building facing a place of interaction should have in order to help make the place itself inviting and secure. Facades should conform to prescribed build-to lines, to frame and define the place; primary building entrances should face the place; and ground level program spaces should be transparent and active day and night.

Initiative 4.4
Leverage new investments in the library to enhance its role as an intellectual commons.

The library is the traditional place where students congregate to learn. In their current form, the many campus libraries offer quiet and well-equipped places for students to study, particularly those who live in group quarters where focused study is often impossible. They also provide a special kind of commons where students, although engaged in individual work, acquire the sense of being part of a community of learners that has endured for generations.

However, despite the increasingly team-based nature of both instruction and research, in general the library does not accommodate the dynamics of group study nearly as well: while rooms for groupwork are sometimes available, they are often remote from the common spaces. And of course the traditional library strongly discourages informal conversations, yet the value of the library is greatly enhanced when we include a place for them.

Several libraries are now completing or contemplating spatial reconfigurations: the campus should take advantage of these projects to demonstrate how the role of the library as an intellectual commons might be re-envisioned and enhanced. These findings should then be incorporated into future capital investments that offer the potential to relocate and/or reconfigure existing library venues.

Initiative 4.5
Redevelop the Sproul complex as a 24 hour campus-wide center for student life and services.

The Sproul complex - the upper and lower plazas and the buildings around them - merits special mention because it is the primary entry point for a sizable majority of students, as well as many faculty and visitors. It is also significant both to the history of the university and to 20th century state and national politics.

Not only does the complex suffer from decades of underinvestment, it also no longer functions well as a student center: some spaces are nearly deserted, while others are congested and mazelike, and some key student services are located elsewhere. The complex as a whole has a significant backlog of deferred renewal, and Eshleman Hall and King Union have seismic deficiencies. However, this need for investment also offers an opportunity to reprogram and redesign the complex, and to renew its original role as a campus-wide center for student life and services.

Because the Sproul complex is presently home to several advising, tutoring and counseling programs, the plans to redevelop it should be prepared in conjunction with the campus master plan for the teaching infrastructure described in initiative 4.6. In particular, the physical co-location of classrooms with support programs and spaces for individual and group study may offer significant advantages in terms of both program synergy and instructional technology.

Places of Interaction

Figure 4.1
Places of Interaction

Teaching Infrastructure  Top

Teaching is the most fundamental form of interaction at the university. While the traditional lecture -section format will continue as the most suitable model for many types of coursework, in recent years instruction has become more and more interactive and team-based. The initiatives proposed in the Academic Plan to enhance undergraduate education at UC Berkeley, which emphasize more direct student participation in research and more direct mentorship by faculty, are consistent with this trend.

However, the campus presently has no formal mechanism for locating or funding such venues. While new campus buildings do as a rule include some new classrooms, these decisions are not informed by a comprehensive campuswide strategy. Meanwhile, many existing classrooms are underutilized, often because instructional technology is inadequate.

Moreover, the education of our students involves more than what goes on in the classroom. There are many other advising, tutoring, and counseling programs that support the teaching enterprise and play a critical role in our students' ability to excel. Presently, however, these programs are housed in spaces which are often inadequate and inconveniently dispersed.

Initiative 4.6
Prepare a master plan and program of investments in the teaching infrastructure.

As proposed in the Academic Plan, this master plan should assess the current classroom supply, and determine how it should be renovated and/or augmented to meet the needs of the future, in terms of both the spaces themselves and the technology they provide. The master plan should also include an analysis of educational support programs, and determine how these should be housed and equipped to complement classroom instruction.

The plan should consider not only distributed but also centralized solutions, like the undergraduate center at the University of Washington, which combines classrooms with student services, computer labs, and spaces for individual and group study. As mentioned in initiative 4.5, this master plan should be prepared in conjunction with the plan for the redevelopment of the Sproul complex.

Information Networks  Top

While there is no substitute for face-to-face conversation, today it is only one of the ways scholars communicate. The introduction of e-mail alone has transformed the nature of collaboration: many faculty today communicate more often with colleagues in other parts of the world than they do with those in the next office. The revolution in information technology has also furnished researchers with new tools for analyzing and discovering patterns and connections in enormous sets of data, leading in turn to changes in the very ways we conceptualize and approach problems.

Information technology has also begun to alter the delivery of education at UC Berkeley, although so far primarily through individual initiatives. Some instructors make their lectures available to students via the internet, and many routinely use the internet to distribute course materials and information.

Initiative 4.7
Complete the new campus interbuilding information infrastructure.

While nearly all campus buildings are connected to the campus information network in some way, many are linked to it through ad hoc pathways such as old utility conduits. Many of these conduits are at capacity, many others are damaged or hazardous: in both cases, such conditions limit or preclude further upgrades in capability.

The construction of a common interbuilding 'backbone' to replace these ad hoc pathways, and provide capacity for future growth, began in 1985: to date, 3 of the 7 elements have been completed. The campus must continue to pursue the completion of the interbuilding system as a funding priority.

Policy 4.8
Include upgrades to intrabuilding information systems in the scope, design and budget of major building renovations.

The interbuilding backbone provides service to each building, but the quality of service also depends on the intrabuilding infrastructure, the quality of which varies enormously across the campus.

The campus network was built at the advent of distributed information technology, in a relatively short period of time, and before standards were in place. As a consequence, many of our intrabuilding systems have been unable to keep up with the tremendous growth in performance demand. In response, the campus has initiated the 'riser project', a phased investment program to equip each building with a modern fiber-optic infrastructure. The riser project will ultimately provide every campus user with equal access to state-of-the-art network resources.

Many campus buildings require seismic improvements. Many also require extensive renovation due to the age and condition of their program spaces and systems. The campus must ensure the requisite improvements to the information infrastructure, as prescribed in the riser project, are incorporated into the budgets and undertaken in conjunction with these projects.

Policy 4.9
Provide high-speed access to the campus information network in all new university housing.

Strategic goal 8 describes a program to significantly increase the supply of university housing. While some of this housing may be constructed and operated directly by the campus, much of it is likely to be developed in partnership with private organizations. Whatever the delivery model, however, every new unit of university housing must be equipped with high-speed access to the campus network, as university-built units are now.

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