Campus Community Members Help Plan Lower Sproul Redevelopment

Photo: Community members discussed plans for development of Lower Sproul at a sustainability workshop held Friday.
Anna Hiatt/Staff
Community members discussed plans for development of Lower Sproul at a sustainability workshop held Friday.

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UC Berkeley students, alumni, faculty and staff met Friday with architects in a workshop to plan the redevelopment of a sustainable, more student-oriented Lower Sproul Plaza.

More than 40 people, divided into six groups, drew up their vision of a newly developed Lower Sproul Plaza by designing structures on a map of the area.

Architects hired to redesign the plaza will use ideas from the workshop when creating the redevelopment's master plan.

"I graduated from UC Berkeley in 1983 and the way that we congregated with other students was totally different," said Mario Violich, a lead architect for the redevelopment project. "The paradigm has shifted and for us to be successful we need to know what kind of functions in a student center are wanted now."

Last spring, the campus allotted $750,000 to the master planning phase of the redevelopment, said ASUC Graduate Assembly President Miguel Daal.

The decision to redevelop the area was an effort by students and campus officials who realized the area needed to be reinvigorated, he said.

Two workshops earlier this year also sought to engage students in the redevelopment process. Another workshop is scheduled for the end of the year.

During Friday's workshop, architects stressed the importance of flexibility and adaptive reuse.

Flexible structures are multi-purpose and can adapt according to climate or programming, Violich said. Adaptive reuse attempts to save building structures by reconfiguring their interiors to fit new design needs.

Other sustainable redevelopment ideas included increasing the ratio of plants to structures, which will promote air filtering and allow rain water passage back into the ground.

The project's advancement depends upon the outcome of a student referendum in spring 2010 that is set to fund the redevelopment. If funding is sufficient, construction could begin in four years, said Beth Piatnitza, associate director for capital projects on campus.

She said she hoped the workshop would promote support for the fee referendum and encourage students to work together to recreate the plaza.

"Students need to be involved and trust their predecessors on this project," Piatnitza said. "It's going to be a continuum of passing the baton as we go."


Contact Mai Fung at [email protected]

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