What, pray tell, is that big “thing” in downtown Berkeley?


Here’s a Monday morning mystery for you.

Does anyone know, or care to take a guess, as to what this large “thing” is that is on the site of the new Helios building at at 2151 Berkeley Way at Shattuck? The photo was snapped by Ira Serkes on January 5th. Perhaps whatever it is has been revealed by now. Perhaps not.

Whichever way you look at it, we’re intrigued. Readers: over to you.

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UTAORC2LANQF2ONEFJYXBSITTA bingo

    I haven’t seen it up close, but many chemical etc. research facilities have big towers of liquid nitrogen associated with them.  that’s the rough shape/size of one.

  • L Ruth

    Christo lives!!!

  • Anonymous

    Carol thinks is might be a piece of public art waiting to be unveiled.  If so, we both hope it won’t be one of the Berkeley Turkeys.

  • Anonymous

    Christo’s Albany installation may have inspired him to head further south.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/serkes/4243223275/in/set-72157623010297167/lightbox/

    Ira

  • Matt

    If I am placing the exact location of the photo correctly (on Berkeley Way where one exits the Ace Hardware parking lot) that structure has been around for some time. It looked to me to be the elevator lobby for access to the underground parking area. You can see it uncovered and mostly completed in Google Maps Street View. It’s got a lot of glass so the tarp makes sense to protect it from dust, construction mishaps, etc.

    Or it’s public art. That theory is more fun for a Monday…

  • Matt

    If I am placing the exact location of the photo correctly (on Berkeley Way where one exits the Ace Hardware parking lot) that structure has been around for some time. It looked to me to be the elevator lobby for access to the underground parking area. You can see it uncovered and mostly completed in Google Maps Street View. It’s got a lot of glass so the tarp makes sense to protect it from dust, construction mishaps, etc.

    Or it’s public art. That theory is more fun for a Monday…

  • Guest

    I work next door to that construction site.  They had a prototype of the exterior walls and windows for the Helios building sitting there for quite a while.  (I guess so they could confirm that it would look right or so they could do a dry run of installing everything.)  My guess is that it’s just that prototype covered by a tarp.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001721193185 Brad Johnson

    Re: the “prototype”

    That’s what I figured it was, too. Then I walked by the site with a friend from the construction business. He doubted they would have done all that work on a prototype. And it looks much more elaborate than a prototype would need to be. 

    My guess is the “prototype” is a guard tower/parking lot control structure. 

    Have no idea what is covered with the tarp. I recall seeing the tarped object last week, and I believe the prototype/guard tower thing was still there as well.

  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous

    I’ve been intrigued by the “prototype”

    I agree with your friend – it’s much more elaborate than a test prototype would be, so some kind of permanent facility make sense.

    This wrapped structure is about the middle of the entire lot; the “prototype” is nearer the intersection of Walnut with Berkeley Way.

    Anyone know if they kept the west part of the parcel open for future construction?

    Ira

  • http://www.flickr.com/parksdh D. H. Parks

    The west end of the parcel is intended for something else labeled “future community health campus”. See 

    http://www.facilities.berkeley.edu/CP/Projects/Helios/Details.html

    As for the subsidiary structure I don’t really understand why anyone thinks it’s anything other than a testbed to make sure all the delivered pieces are to spec and the workers know how to fit them together. The site plans have that location labeled as pedestrian access and the structure itself is the minimum size necessary to fit one of each facade element (ie, not sophisticated).

  • Bruce Love

    Perhaps some piece of HVAC foo or similar.

  • Bill

    Perhaps it’s the sign for the new drugstore that will go on the ground floor?