Notes on Kite Aerial Photography: Photo Gallery

Wellman Hall
University of California, Berkeley

A two-image montage of Wellman Hall flanked by Hilgard Hall to the left and Giannini Hall to the right (Canon 24-mm, October 1999.)

It took me three years to get a camera aloft in this segment of the campus. This was not for lack of trying. I must have launched a kite here on at least a dozen occasions. This is just a tough site for flying kites.  For instance, my first real kite-meets-tree incident involved the group of trees in the middle of the adjacent image. I was most impressed by the vigor with which said trees held my Sutton 16. Furthermore, this site is on the leeward side of the Eucalyptus Grove -- a very tall stand of Eucalyptus -- and shares with the rest of the Berkeley Campus a diminished wind field due to the ridgeline looming to the east.  

Wellman Hall was a building designed for instruction in agriculture by campus architect: John Galen Howard. Various dates are given for its completion ranging from 1907 to 1912. Howard oversaw an extraordinary period of development on campus. He was responsible for eighteen buildings over a twenty-year tenure including the Greek Theater (1903), California Hall (1905), the Hearst Memorial Mining Building (1907), Wheeler Hall (1917), and part of the Doe Library (1917).

Oblique views of Wellman Hall. The building's half-conical, tiled roof acts as a resolution test screen for the scanner thus producing moiré patterns in the scan.  (Canon 24-mm,
October 1999.)

While John Galen Howard's buildings reflect the classical proportions of his Ecole des Beaux-Arts training it is their unselfconscious moderation of the physical environment that thrills me. Here are buildings with operable windows -- for all occupants. The entire interior was served by natural light admitted through a combination of large, double-hung windows and the marvelous skylight at the apex of the roof. Windows on the benign north side (in terms of heat gain) are larger. 

An oblique view parallel to Wellman's longitudinal axis (Canon 24-mm, October 1999.)

Regrettably a visit to the Wellman Hall of 2000 finds a crude mechanical ventilation retrofit clogging the centerline corridor -- a maneuver that quickly disposed of the original borrowed light system. Worse yet, the skylight has been blocked by a suspended acoustical ceiling. Bother. I include this building in a tour of windows through the decades that I lead for my Daylighting seminar. It would be fine thing to see the original fenestration scheme restored to full operation.

It was nice to have finally completed a roll of film in this neighborhood. The next gallery page will feature the Valley Life Sciences Building, a neighbor to Wellman Hall.

Another two-photograph montage from a greater height than the first (Canon 24-mm, October 1999.)

Giannini Hall is centered in this image -- 120 of our undergraduate design students have been temporarily relocated to the basement of Giannini during the seismic retrofit of Wurster Hall  (Canon 24-mm, October 1999.)


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