Notes on Kite Aerial Photography: Photo Gallery

The Valley Life Sciences Building
University of California, Berkeley

A view of the newly-renovated Valley Life Sciences Building as seen  from the north (Canon 24-mm, October 1999)

By the 1920s the administration and John Galen Howard had grown at odds over fees and the hiring of Bernard Maybeck and Julia Morgan for a large number of buildings financed by William Randolph Hearst. In 1924 Howard was dismissed, and in 1927 George W. Kelham, a well-known San Francisco architect, was hired as his replacement. The early buildings constructed under Kelham, Bowles Hall (1929), McLaughlin Hall (1931), and Giannini Hall (1930)-designed by William C. Hays, were simple and classical in appearance and situated according to Howard's plan. However, the immense size and Moderne Style of the Valley Life Sciences Building (1930) marked a departure from the scale and style of the previous architecture.

On the left, looking eastward toward Dwinelle, Wheeler, and California Halls and on the right a view of the north entry to the Life Sciences Building  (Canon 24-mm,
October 1999)

The Valley Life Sciences Building was also one of four building projects (Life Sciences Building, Life Sciences Addition, Genetics & Plant Biology Building, North West Animal Facility) built or rennovated to revitalize the biological sciences on the UC Berkeley Campus. The Life Sciences Building was the most ambitious, in that a building that was constructed in 1930, and at that time was considered to be state-of-the-art, was completely gutted and reconstructed on the interior. The renovation took approximately 5 years to complete, at a cost of over $100,000,000 (compared to the original construction cost in 1930, of $1,800,000). 

On the left a view of the relatively new Life Sciences Building Addition and on the right a view of West Circle late in the day  (Canon 24-mm, October 1999)

I was struck while taking these photographs by the dominant influence of the large Eucalyptus Grove on the local wind fields. The grove was planted over 100 years ago to provide a windbreak for the campus athletic track. The track has long since been relocated to Edwards Field (seen in the background of the image below) but the Eucalyptus Grove continues to dampen the predominantly western wind with ever increasing efficiency.  

This view shows the Life Sciences Building Addition in the foreground with the Edwards Track Stadium in the distance (Canon 24-mm, October 1999)

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