Browse Exhibits (28 total)

Fatal Design


The great public cemeteries in the United States all began as monumental landscapes, playgrounds for the picturesque, where the growing middle classes both buried their dead and took refuge from the rapidly industrializing cities. There they could contemplate the “sweet hereafter” in a setting with an obvious kinship to Central Park or the leafy suburbs, then rising as part of the same cultural forces that created the modern cemetery. Still, these silent cities evolved from a social form that gave us a range of civic institutions including the temple and the astronomical observatory, the theater, and the university. But where has this great social form gone in the last century? Fatal Design tells the tale through the rich holdings of the Environmental Design Archives.


Designing People


The figures that inhabit architectural and landscape renderings are not the actual focus of the drawings. Homeowners, children, pets, shoppers, and condo-dwellers are included to convey the scale and functionality of a proposed design. They humanize and create an emotional appeal in what might otherwise appear to be sterile environments and allow the client to imagine how a space will be used. From the watercolor Victorian to the scalie hipster, this exhibit features more than a century of designers’ representations of people from the Environmental Design Archives.


, , , ,

Stock Options


Houses for Everyone

The Stock Plans: Houses for Everyone exhibit is drawn from the Environemntal Design Library's extensive collection of house pattern books and stock plan catalogs, along with related original documents and drawing from the Envrionmental Design Archives. The exhibit covers their precedents, origins, and influence beyond California and includes contemporary developments.

, ,

Urban Beast or Urbane Beauty

CB panel 1_001.jpg

Planning the City Beautiful

One hundred years ago, Daniel Burnham and Edward Bennett published a vision of Chicago that reflected the early stages of big city planning. The City Beautiful Movement, spurred by Baron Haussmann's remaking of Paris in the 1860s, was intended to create a rational, classical city to replace the crowded, unplanned Victorian city common in the 19th Century. The 1909 Plan for Chicago, although never fully realized, is heralded as the apex of the City Beautiful Movement which found echoes in plans for the San Francisco Civic Center, Oakland's City Center, the Sunol Water Tower Temple, and urban planning from Manila to Canberra, Australia. This exhibit explores the City Beautiful Movement as manifested in the San Francisco Bay Area, and subsequent attempts to make its wide boulevards, Beaux Arts buildings and neo-classical domes welcome to urban inhabitants.

, ,

Render Unto God


Focusing on the design of religious structures this exhibition explores the connections between religious institutions and residences, social spaces, and the challendges of designing for religious purposes. Themes of community, ethnicity, innovation and tradition are highlighted with holdings for the Environmental Design Archvies, Visual Resource Center, and Environmental Design Library collections, such as rare books, original sketches, and photographs.

, ,

All Their Own


Designing for Themselves and Each Other

Although a designer’s first projects are often for family members, they inevitably will design a place of their own during the course of their career. These include gardens, residences, vacation homes, remodels, and design-build projects. Designers also design for each other. This exhibition showcases projects by architects and landscape architects for themselves and for their colleagues.

, ,

Design Radicals: Creativity & Protest


The shock wave of Berkeley’s 1964 Free Speech Movement reverberated within Wurster Hall, transforming the College of Environmental Design into a laboratory for experiments in counterculture art and politics. Students turned hallways and classrooms into impromptu print shops, producing anti-war posters now featured in graphic arts exhibitions and collected by museums from Oakland to Washington DC. Self-styled “Outlaw Builders” launched hands-on ventures in pedagogy, including a mobile lab for elementary school interventions, a communal settlement built from salvaged materials, and an early iteration of ecologically sustainable home technology. Through the rich holdings of the Environmental Design Archives and the social justice poster collection of Lincoln Cushing, the story of the innovative student and faculty enterprises of the early 1970s is told in the exhibition: Design Radicals: Creativity and Protest in Wurster Hall.

Environmental Design/A New Modernism

Digital Weave-4.jpg

50th Anniversary of the College of Environmental Design, 1959-2009

The College of Environmental Design (CED) was conceived of in the 1950s and formally established in 1959. To differentiate their ideas from Modernist dogma, the founders William Wurster, Catherine Bauer Wurster, Jack Kent, and their Bay Area colleagues dubbed their vision “Environmental Design,” or what we might call a “New Modernism.” The CED was unique not only because it was one of the earliest colleges to combine architecture, city planning, landscape architecture, and the decorative arts, but also because it emphasized the important role of the social, natural, and physical sciences in informing teaching, practice, and research. Wurster Hall, completed in 1964, has become the emblem of the founders’ vision where, in 2009, it continues to emerge anew.

The exhibit focuses on seminal moments from 1959 to 2009 in the evolution of the CED founders' vision, whereby teaching, research, and practice were informed by the social and natural sciences and which, in recent decades, has significantly come to include the computer sciences. It features images of drawings, photographs, and documents drawn from the Environmental Design Archives, the Environmental Design Library, the Bancroft Library, the University Archives, IURD and CEDR, and private collections.

, , , ,

Remembering Earl Nisbet


Earl Nisbet  (1926-2013) was a California architect who studied with Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesin in the early 1950s, returning to California in 1953 to pursue his own architectural career. This was a decade filled with creative and innovative projects for Nisbet, including Cabaña Tanglewood, the Falconer House, and the Doo House. The influence of Wright’s teachings can be seen throughout each of these projects, and continued to be a source of inspiration throughout his career.

, ,

Gardens For Peace


A former English teacher from Berkeley wondered why there was no national monument for peace admidst the country's many national monuments to war. So in 1985 she determined to create a National Peace Garden in Washington D.C. This exhibition explores this idea, the competition for its design, and its fate by asking, "What is a peace Garden? What is its value? Who pays for it?" Original sketches and drawings from the design competition, letters from supporters and detractors, and examples of other peace gardens are included in the material on display provided by the Environmental Design Archives, Visual Resource Center, and Environmental Design Library.


, ,