Drawing Building

Hearst Avenue, University of California at Berkeley

Daniella Thompson

The renovated Drawing Building, now the Blum Center, with its new addition, from the northwest (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2011)

The Drawing Building prior to renovation (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2004)

Graced with banks of tall, north-facing windows, this building began life as an annex to the adjacent Architecture Building, known to all as the “Ark” (now North Gate Hall). The drawing classes were held here.

Construction of the 10,900-square-feet Drawing Building began in 1913 and was completed in 1914. It was financed with $17,500 from the Permanent Improvement Fund. Like the “Ark” (1906), the Drawing Building was designed by John Galen Howard, the University of California’s first Supervising Architect and Professor of Architecture (until 1906, Howard was the only professor in the department).

Looking west toward the “Ark” (North Gate Hall) (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2004)

South fašade; the “Ark” is visible below
(photo: Daniella Thompson, 2004)

Located on the edge of campus, across the street from the residential Northside neighborhood, both buildings exhibit the telltale features of vernacular First Bay Tradition style: brown-shingled exteriors; gabled roofs; wooden balconies with simple, chunky balusters; and Craftsman-style entrances. On its north side, where large oak trees appear to be engaged in dialog with the double row of windows, the Drawing Building’s rustic ambience serves as a reminder of the design ideals that prevailed in the Berkeley hills a century ago.

The same elements are evident in John Galen Howard’s Cloyne Court Hotel (1904), located around the corner on Le Roy Avenue.

View from the northeast (Davis Hall North in foreground) (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2004)

View from the southwest (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2004)

No fewer than five departments called this building their home. From 1914 to 1924, it was the School of Architecture’s Drawing Building. In 1924, the Department of Art was formed and moved into the North Drawing Building, where it stayed until 1930. The eastern end of the building was demolished in 1931 to allow for construction of Davis Hall North (George Kelham), which in turn was demolished in September 2004.

South entrance (photo: Daniella
Thompson, 2004)

Southeast entrance (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2004)

The Blum Center seen from the south (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2011)

Between 1930 and 1951, the building housed Engineering Design, and from 1951 to 1964, it was the City and Regional Planning Building. When the Department of City and Regional Planning moved to Wurster Hall in 1964, the building was assigned to the College of Engineering and renamed the Hydraulics and Naval Architecture Building. These days it is known simply as the Naval Architecture Building.

As a result of the numerous programmatic changes, only one original interior studio room is left intact today.

North fašade (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2004)

The Drawing Building was designated a City of Berkeley Landmark on 18 October 1976. It is #76000475 in the National Register of Historic Places (added in 1982).



Copyright © 2004–2020 Daniella Thompson. All rights reserved.