Tag Archives: Berkeley Design Advocates

Op-ed: Measure R will kill emerging downtown renaissance

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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.

While promoted as a “soak-the-evil-developers” proposal, in reality Measure R is a thinly disguised attempt to freeze Berkeley in the past and wall off a potentially larger and more vibrant downtown to new residents. Rather than being progressive and welcoming, Measure R will keep people … Continue reading »

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Group proposes lighted arch over Telegraph Avenue

Telegraph arch
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A coalition of city and campus groups is proposing to erect a decorative lighted archway on Telegraph Avenue to better define the shopping district.

The arch, which would be erected near Dwight Way, would serve to “emphasize and celebrate the four blocks of Telegraph between Dwight and Bancroft that distinguish it from Oakland’s Temescal and Berkeley’s Downtown,” according to an encroachment request letter submitted to the city. Students standing at the soon-to-be remodeled Lower Sproul Plaza would be able to look down the street and see the arch, and those at Dwight could look north to the campus, creating a visual connection between the University and the Avenue. … Continue reading »

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Architecture

Nine Berkeley buildings win ‘design excellence’ awards

UCB - Stadium and SAHPC6
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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.)

This year threw up a particularly impressive crop of winners, according to Anthony Bruzzone, President of BDA, who said that two years ago, with the recession having put the kibosh on many construction projects, the group was concerned it might have no buildings to consider at all in 2013. … Continue reading »

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Opinionator

Op-Ed: Wider sidewalks would revitalize Southside

Center Street. Photo: Charles Siegel
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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.

In the picture, you can see that the campus side of Bancroft has a fairly attractive sidewalk with trees, while the south side of the street has a narrow, bland sidewalk. Imagine how different this picture could be if we made Bancroft two-way and widened this narrow sidewalk by 10 feet. We would have room to plant trees and add cafe seating on this side of the street, making it an attractive shopping street facing campus.

Business improved dramatically when the city widened the sidewalk on Center St. just west of campus, and we could do the same by widening sidewalks on the blocks of Bancroft adjacent to Telegraph and on the block of Durant east of Telegraph. … Continue reading »

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New Sproul, design ideas provide optimism for Telegraph

An architect's rendering of the new Eshelman Hall, along Bancroft Way
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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.

At the center of the discussions was one concrete project — the University of California Berkeley’s Lower Sproul Plaza redevelopment — and one ambitious series of new ideas, created by Berkeley Design Advocates following their design charrette last April.  … Continue reading »

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Can Berkeley’s Telegraph Avenue get its mojo back?

TelChrtt 066
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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.”

Last weekend, Berkeley Design Advocates, a volunteer group of architects, urban planners and transit specialists, came together to drum up new visions for Telegraph Avenue. They called it the Telegraph Project charrette, using the French term that has come to mean an intense period of design activity. Members of the public were encouraged to attend and bring their own thoughts to the Friday night kick-off session at which the avenue’s “current state of play” was presented. … Continue reading »

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Imagining a future for Telegraph Avenue, without blinders

Telegraph1 by Nany Rubin
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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.

The initiative, which will take the form of a “charrette,” topped and tailed by input from members of the public, is being orchestrated by Berkeley Design Advocates (a membership organization of planners, architects and engineers that works to support good planning and design in Berkeley) working with the Telegraph Business Improvement District.

The effort aims to prompt a discussion of what the community wants Telegraph Avenue to become, says Matt Taecker from urban planners Dyett & Bhatia, who is helping organize the event. City officials will attend as well as experts such as urban economist Dena Belzer, architect Ryan Call and planner Jay Claiborne. … Continue reading »

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