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American Society of Landscape Architects


September 2005 Issue

Reweaving a Campus Tapestry
With an award-winning new plan, the University of California at Berkeley hopes to link present needs with decades of illustrious plans.

By Lisa Owens Viani

Reweaving a Campus Tapestry

Just as many older, built-out cities find themselves trying to manage population growth and boost their economies while preserving cultural and natural resources, so do universities. The University of California at Berkeley is no exception. Constrained by a limited amount of land, a city pressing in at its borders (some would argue that the campus is pressing out), and the need to upgrade and retrofit its facilities, how does a 1999 ASLA award winner for outstanding design manage to maintain its aesthetic and cultural identity?

After the Loma Prieta earthquake shook the Bay Area in 1989, campus planners undertook several efforts to inventory the campus's physical infrastructure and make recommendations for retrofitting it where necessary. The New Century Plan (and a sub-sequent long-range development plan), triggered in part by the earthquake risk assessments, took a comprehensive look at predicted campus growth and identified a need for further study of the campus landscape and cultural resources. The landscape master plan arose out of that identified need. According to campus landscape architect Jim Horner, it set forth a vision for campus open space and identified the main landscape typologies. Then, in 2001, the university was awarded a $250,000 grant from the Getty Foundation's Campus Heritage Grants fund to come up with a more specific landscape preservation plan for the university's "classical core"—the Landscape Heritage Plan.

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