Browse Exhibits (28 total)

Planning with Nature

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Founded in 1913, the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning celebrated its centennial in 2013! This exhibition examines the history and guiding principles o the department - innovation, social responsibility, and research through the works of tis students, faculty, staff and alumni. Historical, archival, and cutting edge material from the Environmetal design Archives, Visual Resources Center, and Environmental Design Library were used for this exhibit.

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Designed Necessities

“…the signs of human presence are the only elements of the landscape that have any moral or aesthetic significance at all.”1

Humans are responsible for the beauty, utility, and effects of the technology we use to create the industrial landscape. Infrastructure — the common sights of the built environment— forms the critical yet often reviled or overlooked elements of the urban ecosystem. These key elements include the methods, means, and structures that support the creation and transmission of power, the management and distribution of water, mechanisms of communication, and the myriad forms of transportation.

This exhibit uses original sketches, photographs, drawings, and books provided by the Environmental Design Archives and Environmental Design Library to illustrate the technical structures and facilities necessary for our society to function. As elements in the designed landscape, power sources, clean water, streets, roads, bridges, and various methods of transportation have all felt the hand of the architect and landscape architect. These elements of the industrial ecosystem provide the structural framework to respond to societal demand and the physical world.

[1] Hayes, Brian. Infrastructure: A Field Guide to the Industrial Landscape. New York, W.W. Norton, 2005

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Exceptional Expositions

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While fairs of the 1930s turned to the future as a foil to the Great Depression, the Golden Gate International Exposition conjured up geographical metaphors to explore the nature of San Francisco's place in what organizers called "Pacific Civilization." The fair proposed a vision of the Pacific as an antidote to the troubled Atlantic world, then descending into chaos for the second time in a generation. Architects took up the theme and projected the regionalist sensibilities of Northern California onto Asian and Latin American architecture. Their eclectic, referential buildings drew widely on the cultural traditions of ancient Cambodia, China, and Mexico, as well as the International Style, Art Deco, and the Bay Region Tradition. Buildings supported the cultural and political work of the fair and fashioned a second, parallel world in a moment of economic depression and international turmoil.

Bernard Maybeck and William Merchant designed a spirited Tower of Youth that, had it been built, would have been a pendant to the Palace of Fine Arts at the PPIE. Timothy Pflueger, by contrast, built a Federal Building that was equal parts New Deal institutional architecture, Art Deco, and a manifesto of regionalism. Brazil and Argentina’s modernity offset the nostalgic historicism of the Pacific Area, while the Pacific House posed as a vessel of neutrality in the midst of a symbolic Pacific. With images of designs by William Wurster, Ernest Born, Arthur Brown, Jr., and a host of other architects, this exhibit shows a cross-section of architecture in a moment of quickening change in the profession and the wider world.

Unless otherwise stated all material on display is from the Environmental Design Archives. 

It’s on my Desk

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The twelve blotters featured in this exhibit were created by Allan Jacobs during his six year tenure as Director of the San Francisco Department of City Planning. He had two fresh blotters each year on which he “doodled” while on the phone.  They illustrate, both literally and figuratively, issues on the desk of the Planning Director and thoughts generated by these issues.  These blotters also serve as valuable documents of their time and place and as a visual diary of ideas, issues, and politics as well as of personal matters. Titles in the exhibit were based on the content of the blotter.


Donald Olsen

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The Legacy of Donald Olsen – Modern Master

Donald Olsen (1919-2015) graduated with his Bachelor’s in Architecture from the University of Minnesota in 1941. He won a scholarship to Harvard’s Graduate School of Design but had to defer due to the outbreak and the United State’s involvement in World War II. During the war years, Olsen found himself in Richmond, CA where he worked at the Kaiser Ship Yard designing large manufacturing and office buildings as well as housing, railway systems, fire stations, and schools. Once the war ended he obtained his Master’s in Architecture from Harvard and graduated in 1946.

After a brief stint in the office of Eliel and Eero Saarinen in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, Olsen returned to Berkeley where he worked for a brief time for Ernest Kump, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, and finally Wurster, Bernardi, & Emmons. In 1954 Olsen began his own practice and remained for decades a much-esteemed and sought after architect. The same year that he began his own practice he was approached by William Wurster, then Dean of the School of Architecture at UC Berkeley, and asked to join the faculty. Olsen’s career lasted thirty-five years, until 1989 when he retired.

Inspired by the teachings of the Bauhaus and curriculum of Walter Gropius while studying at Harvard, Donald Olsen transported the International Style of modernism to the Bay Area. Olsen’s unwavering loyalty to modernism drove his career and allowed him to flourish both as a practicing architect and a professor at UC Berkeley. This exhibit explores the life and career of Donald Olsen from the start of his career with noted firms such as Saarinen, Swanson & Saarinen, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, and Wurster, Bernardi, & Emmons to establishing his own practice.

Beginning with Olsen's education and influences, this exhibition, organized by project type, includes his work designing residences, commercial and educational spaces, as well as unbuilt projects. All materials in this exhibition come from the Environmental Design Archives’ Donald Olsen Collection.

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The Life and Career of Kaneji Domoto


Kaneji (Kan) Domoto was a landscape architect and architect born in Oakland in 1912, attended UC Berkeley for landscape architecture, and studied with Frank Lloyd Wright. Disrupting his Taliesin education, Domoto was incarcerated with his wife Sally Fujii at Amache, Colorado during World War II. After the war, Kan and Sally moved to New York and raised four children. Kan's career in architecture and landscape design spanned over 50 years and included both residential, commercial, recreational, and educational projects in the Bay Area and East Coast—including several homes at Frank Lloyd Wright's planned community, Usonia. He received many awards for his gardens including the Frederick Law Olmsted Award for his Jackson Park design in Chicago.

This exhibition, a retrospective on Domoto's life and career, explores the complex story behind the only American Japanese architect and landscape architect who designed for Frank Lloyd Wright's 1944 Usonia community in Westchester County, New York. Original correspondence, photographs, and drawings from the Domoto Collection held by the Environmental Design Archives will explore what it meant to be a midcentury American Japanese architect, and how Domoto's life experience and Japanese heritage influenced his work—illuminating the intersections between race, the designed environment, power, inequality, access, and ability.

The Life and Career of Kaneji Domoto begins with Domoto's roots, including his early professional work and education. It addresses his incarceration during WWII, and his post-war career. This exhibit features his role and designs in Frank Lloyd Wright's only fully realized Usonian community, as well as the work he accomplished after his involvement with Wright from the 1960s through the 1990s.

This exhibition is funded by the Arcus Endowment through the Diversity Platforms Committee of the College of Environmental Design.


Catherine Bauer and the Photography of Modern Housing


Although one of the foremost leaders of the movement for modern public housing in the United States, Catherine Bauer often goes overlooked as an important maker and collector of photographs of modern architecture.

This exhibit invites a new understanding of Catherine Bauer’s contributions to the modern housing movement by looking through the lens of photography. Photographs and excerpts from Bauer’s writings at the Environmental Design Archives and the Bancroft Library illustrate how photography was an essential tool in Bauer’s work that continues to offer a perspective on modern housing history in the present.


Catherine Bauer Wurster papers, BANC MSS 74/163 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

Catherine Bauer Wurster photograph collection, BANC PIC 1974.029, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

William and Catherine Bauer Wurster Papers, Environmental Design Archives, University of California, Berkeley.

Forthcoming Publication

Nicole Krup Oest, Photography and Modern Public Housing in Los Angeles (, 2021)


Research for this exhibit was made possible through funding from the Swiss National Science Foundation.

Nicole Krup Oest thanks Chris Marino and the Environmental Design Archives for their support of this exhibition. She also thanks Victor Rini, historian and descendant of a family of Chávez Ravine, and Dr. Raymond Neutra of the Neutra Institute for Survival Through Design.

Finished-Unfinished: The Design of Bauer Wurster Hall


For better or worse, Bauer Wurster Hall is unlike any building on the UC Berkeley campus. Completed in 1964, it has since confounded many a tour-group leader trying to reconcile its stark appearance with its identity as the architecture school. While many have a love/hate relationship with this concrete monolith, fewer likely know that this tension was in part intentional.

This exhibition tells the story of Bauer Wurster Hall’s design: how it came to be and how it was imagined to persist into the future. It traces the building's history from initial conceptual designs to the 2014 addition of the Digital Fabrication Lab through sketches, architectural drawings, and photographs.

On view in the Judith Stronach / Raymond Lifchez Exhibit Cases in the Environmental Design Library from July 10, 2023 October 8, 2023