BAHA Preservation Awards 2016
The UC Theater as a first-run cinema
2036 University Avenue
(James W. Placheck, architect, 1916)
The renovated space, now a live music venue (photo: Carrie Olson, 2016)
Awarded for Renovation
Built for Berkeley developers Luther H. Williamson and Richard H. Bradshaw, the UC Theater is Berkeley’s oldest surviving theatre building with a mostly intact fašade. It operated continuously as a cinema from 1917 until 2001, when the requirement for a costly seismic upgrade to the unreinforced masonry building brought about its closure. In 2002, the building was designated a City of Berkeley Landmark.
While a new use was being sought for the theatre, David Mayeri, a Berkeley-born former manager at Bill Graham Presents, was looking for a venue for his proposed live music enterprise. The choice of the UC Theater as his venue required reimagining the space to accommodate a different kind of audience. Soundproofing was key, since the Berkeley Rep is the neighbor to the rear, and the sound quality of the hall had to attain perfection.
While the exterior remains as it was, the interior space, rechristened The UC Theatre Taube Family Music Hall, is outfitted with a dance floor and a higher standing floor; or, for some concerts, table seating. There are refreshment stands on all levels. Sightlines to the rebuilt stage are optimal, and the Meyer Sound Laboratories’ audio system is the most sophisticated available, and custom-tailored for the challenge of the space. Walls, floors, and ceilings have been extensively retrofitted to prevent sound or vibration leakage.
The UC Theatre’s Education Program teaches young people the technical, creative, and business aspects of concert and event promotion through hands-on workshops; work-based learning; career pathways; and employment opportunities for young people.
BAHA and the entire community are delighted to see the venerable landmark being utilized again in a cultural capacity.
Campbell House (photo courtesy of Jason Wady)
William R. Campbell House
2815 Claremont Boulevard
(T. Paterson Ross, architect, 1910)
Awarded for Sensitive Restoration
Proudly featuring a curlicued step gable and elaborate brickwork, the William R. Campbell House is unique in Berkeley and instantly memorable to passersby on Claremont Boulevard. Its architect, the Scottish-born Thomas Paterson Ross, is perhaps best remembered for his Islamic design of San Francisco’s Alcazar Theater, originally a Shriners’ temple.
Damaged brickwork on south fašade (photo courtesy of Jason Wady)
After over a century of existence, the venerable building was showing its age. The two chimneys were in bad shape—a mere push elicited movement. The front chimney was broken about 15 feet below the cap. The gable end had loosened as a result of the Loma Prieta Earthquake. Along the top of the southern wall, the brick veneer had come loose in long cracked rows; below these, the steel window lintels were bent.
Rusty nails held the brick in place (photo courtesy of Jason Wady)
Following a frustrating search for a qualified mason, the owners found Jason Wady of International Masonry Specialists. Bringing his European training and experience to bear, Wady attacked the job in stages. On the front fašade, the gable and upper part of the chimney were stripped of damaged bricks. Rebar and straps were installed for the chimney, and the exposed gable received a waterproofing membrane. The chimney was rebuilt, and the gable parapet rebricked.
New ties (photo courtesy of Jason Wady)
Along the southern fašade, the loose bricks were removed, revealing old rusty nails. The failed flat steel lintels were replaced with stainless steel angle lintels. Waterproofing membrane was applied to the wall; the remaining brick in the repair areas was reinforced with ties attached to wire and screwed to the studs; and the brickwork was rebuilt.
The house is now stronger and more earthquake resistant, ready for another century.
See the brick restoration in this Facebook photo album.
Before (photo courtesy of the owner)
George N. Nash House
2758 Piedmont Avenue
(Leola Hall, designer & builder, 1909)
After (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2016)
Awarded for Extensive Renovation
Built as a speculative house by the prolific Leola Hall, this charming brown-shingle house was soon acquired by an accountant and his family, who occupied the house for several decades.
Three years ago, the house changed hands, and the new owner found that nothing had been done to upgrade the structure in 42 years. So she undertook major work: the basement space was deepened and a new foundation poured; a laundry, family room, and bathroom were created; the upper parts of the house were all but gutted. Original woodwork was preserved, and original living room details, such as plastering and light fixtures, were kept. The fireplace was made smaller to fit an insert, while retaining the original bricks.
The remodeled kitchen (photo: Carrie Olson, 2016)
Renovation can mean better utilization of space. In the dining room, a built-in breakfront was removed to enlarge the area and link it with the completely remodeled and modernized kitchen. Upstairs, two bedrooms were combined into one master bedroom, while features like moldings and woodwork were preserved. Doors were widened. Several wonderfully modernized bathrooms were created.
The exterior also received attention. New windows were installed from the outside, the house was reshingled, and the roof rafters milled to include distinctive outriggers. Landscaping received attention, and the house, located on many neighborhood children‘s route to Emerson School, gets decorated appropriately for each holiday season. The kids love it!
Chinn-Pratt House in 1939 (Ormsby Donogh files, BAHA archives)
2512 Etna Street
(Builder unknown, c. 1904; Frederick E. Allen, second-floor builder, 1909)
The resurrected Chinn-Pratt House (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2016)
Awarded for Post-fire Rebuilding
This shingled Colonial Revival house was built as a speculative one-story cottage for investor Harry J. Chinn, a Napa Valley man whose two sisters owned and briefly lived next door, at 2510 Etna Street. About 1906, the cottage was acquired by George E. Pratt, an executive in Francis Marion “Borax” Smith’s Realty Syndicate. Pratt built the second story in 1909, adding bedrooms, closets, and a bathroom. Ten years later, while the house was owned by realtor Edwin E. Cox, a fire broke out upstairs, requiring replacement of the roof and plaster.
The rebuilt rear fašade (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2016)
In the early 1920s, the house became the home of Merle Randall, a professor of chemistry, and his family. Following Randall’s death in 1950, his widow, Lillian, converted the residence into a student boarding house. In 1975, her heirs sold the house to the current owners, who returned the house to single-family use without changing too much of its altered layout.
On 5 July 2010, an electrical fire broke out in the rear of the house, destroying 30% of the building. The parts that weren’t burned suffered smoke and water damage. Most of the couple’s treasured objects, pictures, letters, and documents were lost. Looking on the bright side, the couple saw an opportunity not only to replicate but also to improve their old home.
The second floor, which had been a confusing rabbit warren, was redesigned to include bedroom-study suites for two adults. The laundry was moved from the basement to the second floor. Three beautiful bathrooms were created with vintage-style fixtures and tile. The former kitchen, little more than a boat’s galley, was replaced with a spacious cook’s showcase. A new dining room emerged from an old rear addition.
In its previous incarnation, the living-room fireplace featured a river-rock mantel that was at odds with the Colonial Revival door- and window-trims in the front rooms. The redesigned fireplace boasts an oxidized copper surround and a wooden mantel that echoes the classic pilasters in the room.
The new kitchen (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2016)
The living room and its redesigned fireplace (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2016)
The owners thank their architect, Renate Lohmann; their first-phase contractor, Robin Strandberg; and their insurance adjuster, Robert Crown, for giving them back their home, better than ever.
Copyright © 2016 BAHA. All rights reserved.