Berkeley Design Advocates, a volunteer group of architects and urban planners, showcase the best contemporary design in Berkeley — as well as the best restoration of the city’s historical buildings — with their bi-annual awards.
Berkeley has an international reputation as a free-thinking, expressive, welcoming and experimental city. The current battle over the city’s downtown and November’s Measure R contradicts this image of ourselves, and in the worst possible way.
A coalition of city and campus groups is proposing to erect a decorative lighted archway on Telegraph Avenue to better define the shopping district.
Nine buildings have been singled out as representing the best new design work in Berkeley for 2010-2012. Berkeley Design Advocates, a volunteer group of architects and urban planners, selected three UC Berkeley buildings, a restaurant, a senior home, two retail spaces — one newly built, one restored — a wine store, and the renovation of a branch library from a list of 15 submissions, and handed out the award certificates at a ceremony on Thursday, March 28. (See the 2013 Awards Brochure for full details.)
Berkeley Design Advocates has suggested many good ideas for revitalizing the Telegraph Ave. shopping district, and I think the most important is their proposal to make Bancroft and Durant two-way, which would allow us to widen sidewalks in key locations.
The future of Telegraph Avenue was the focus of a special work session of Berkeley’s City Council on Tuesday evening. Where most discussions of Telegraph concentrate on the many problems of the area — declining retail sales, vacant lots, troubling street behavior — Tuesday was filled with positive images and ideas for the avenue.
When a group of urban design experts gather to brainstorm ideas for revitalizing Berkeley’s Telegraph Avenue there are some unstated, but fundamental, shared understandings. People’s Park, which abuts the avenue, is a sensitive issue, as are the street’s semi-permanent populations of homeless people and transient youth. Suggesting any type of change in general can be a tough call in Berkeley. Perhaps it’s no surprise then that when a student group calling itself the Telegraph Livable Coalition some time ago drafted a checklist of 21 things that might be achieved on Telegraph before they graduated, the starting point was that they would only consider issues “that nobody would protest against.”
This weekend a group of design professionals, architects, urban planners and engineers will come together to dream about possible futures for Berkeley’s Telegraph Avenue.
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