When I first arrived at UC Berkeley in 1997, I entered from one of the most unlikely entrances on campus, the steps on Bancroft Way that led me to the Hearst Gymnasium and Barrows Hall. A few days ago, I decided to return to those steps and just look back at the street and observe the activity. Not much has changed. The facades of the retail shops remain unchanged. The flower vendor left a few years ago and a “For Lease” sign sits in his place. A “Street Spirit” vendor found some shade on the bench where the flowers were once sold and offered his newspapers to passers by. I sat down on the steps next to one of the classical revival urns that surrounded the Hearst Gymnasium. I sketched as the urn’s lion gargoyle gazed out onto the street almost in a protective manner over the “Street Spirit” vendor.
A quick sketch I did in front of the UC Berkeley Faculty Club for my first post on the SF Bay Area Urban Sketchers blog. I had hoped for some people to show up, but summer time is quite slow around the University.
The Faculty Club has been around since 1902 and is a wonderful place to grab lunch or have drinks after class (or work). I’ve even attended a lovely wedding (several years ago) that was hosted on the lawn shown in the sketch.
If you get a chance to view The Club from the inside, you’ll immediately note the precious craftsman design of Bernard Maybeck that is also seen throughout the historic homes of the area. It’s definitely one of the best examples (that I’ve seen) of this type of warm personal architecture.
Read more about it at http://www.berkeleyfacultyclub.com/
Just a quick lunch time sketch in front of the Valley Life Sciences Building (read more about the history of the building here). It’s a little slow on campus right now due to it being finals week. I chose this spot because of the shade more than anything else, but I was able to catch a few students coming and going from where I sat.
April 11, 2014 – UC Berkeley. Here is another lunch time sketch from the Cal campus. The Campanile (Sather Tower) is synonymous with UC Berkeley and it’s effort to constantly push the envelope and strive for excellence in academia. If you’re in the area tomorrow (April 12th), come and visit the campus on Cal Day and get a free view from the top of the tower.
I have to admit, I was both excited and nervous about sketching this famous UC landmark. I didn’t feel worthy. Sather Gate was built in 1910 in memory of Peder Sather, a benefactor of the University. If it could speak, I imagine it could recall the events of the Free Speech Movement, the songs of graduates passing underneath it and the director’s yelling “Cut!” from the movies filmed under its arches.
I don’t always pass by it as I walk though the campus, but when I do, I have to pause and study it. On this particular occasion, it was the end of Spring Break and no students were around, not that it mattered to me. 😉 I hope to sketch it again from a different perspective. I often wonder if they know what a true rite of passage they’re experiencing while attending the University. When the students walk through it, taking their selfies in front of it, observing its awkward copper corrosion from the corner of their eyes, are they truly aware of it.
The College of Chemistry is close to my office and has an inner elevated courtyard that offers a secluded vantage point from which one can see and hear all the activity below while remaining virtually unnoticed. It was mid-term week and the students were hurrying in and out of the buildings to study groups, cafes and more classes. I overheard bits of conversations that represented the social mosaic of student life. One girl cried out, ”I’m so not prepared for this test.” Another, whom I could not see, but could discern that he was on his phone, was making plans for a week of partying on the beach. There were also several conversations in Spanish, Mandarin and Russian.