Menu

ASLA-NCC

Awards

2018 Awards

Design: General

Honor Award

UCB Lower Sproul Plaza: Revitalizing a Historic Civic Space
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA
CMG Landscape Architecture
Lead Landscape Architect: Willett Moss, FAAR
Client: University of California, Berkeley

A staircase leads to the new Alumni Plaza, an intimate space characterized by its dense planting. This new space was created from an existing fire lane.
This 2.6 acre site sits on the south edge of campus and has served as the historic host of Berkeley’s civil rights and free speech movements.
The revitalization this mid-century complex celebrates its history while modernizing it to accommodate the needs of future students.
A garden room affords a moment of respite and is a memorial to a beloved student.
Passage though the rain garden over a boardwalk constructed of salvaged timber is now a popular cross campus route.
The collection, conveyance and treatment of stormwater is an essential element of the plaza’s design. This is the first campus project to intercept stormwater and treat it prior to release into the adjacent creek.
The multitude of access points and experiences are core to the landscape. Planting as a counterpoint to the open plaza humanizes and defines circulation routes.
Modification of existing planters makes them attractive and functional sculptures. New raised planters and seating are inspired by the timber and concrete of the original mid-century design.
Flexible spaces within the plaza allow a range of student activity.
Incorporation and expansion of historic Halprin planters notes material history of the plaza.
Paving patterns delineate movement and create rhythm at a pedestrian scale.
Constructed over a parking garage, the grand staircase and ramp are designed to provide access over a grade change of twelve feet.
Active edges include rich and diverse places for gathering and solitude.
Lower Sproul Plaza is adorned with a golden bear statue, originally installed in 1980,
and reinstalled atop a bedazzling paved surface. At night, the plazas pavement sparkles with gemlike refraction.
The shaping of the open space was preceded by an assessment of movement patterns
through the campus and city. A new Cross Sproul Path reinforces and enhances campus connections.
Lower Sproul Plaza was re-imagined to reinforce its role as the cultural heart
of campus and provide flexible outdoor spaces for various student events and activities.

This 2.6 acre site sits on the south edge of campus and has served as the historic host of Berkeley’s civil rights and free speech movements. Having served beyond its lifespan, the focus was to reimagine and revitalize this derelict area into a common gathering space for the entire campus and community. The new design reinvigorates the central space and celebrates its important history and legacy. Fundamental urban design strategies provide universal access, reduce the apparent size of the existing plaza, activate indoor outdoor relationships, and introduce planting. Flexible outdoor spaces complement uses inside the surrounding buildings. Challenging topography was solved by incorporating the planting strategy into a stair and ramp scheme that traverses significant grade changes.Sustainability was a key priority and to ensure the site and building infrastructure were highly integrated, an aggressive stormwater treatment and grey water reuse program was developed. A portion of the site watershed rainwater is collected for irrigation and toilet flushing, and a rain garden captures and filters additional stormwater runoff which is returned to a nearby creek.