Wurster Hall Shop Addition

College of Environmental Design
University of California
Berkeley, California

Commissioned to serve as both an experimental production facility and as a showcase for new material applications and computer-controlled fabrication technologies, this building addition, interior renovation, and courtyard landscape ramp focuses on the minimal definition of large flexible spaces in order to allow for a wide range of activities and continual updating of the design equipment processes. Reflecting the simple, cellular functionality of the Esherick-designed original building, the new addition follows the structural geometry of the existing building frames, but employs new translucent materials and computer-controlled cutting processes to produce a simple enclosure with a functionally complex structural skin. The primary work area is enclosed within a ventilating roof and wall system that holds out the rain while allowing hot air and fumes to exhaust through a continuous matrix of large roof apertures. The double skin of prefabricated polycarbonate panels forms a dense field of thick translucent roof volumes-serving as gutters and ventilator shafts-hovering within a deceptively simple box following outward from the structural bays of the existing building, and acting as a lantern-like pavilion within the large building courtyard. The courtyard will gain a new multi-purpose functionality as an experimental construction space, and informal amphitheater for outdoor lectures and performances. A broad concrete-supported ramp rises upward as a rectangular lawn to gain the full sunlight otherwise escaping the shaded courtyard, and symbolically draws the campus ground through the two story lobby space and into the landscape architecture studios on the building’s fourth floor. With these additions to the courtyard, this previously underutilized outdoor space will become an activated work area for design-build construction activities that integrate students from both the architecture and landscape architecture programs.

AWARDS:

2006 Progressive Architecture (P/A) Award – Wurster Workshop, California

2005 Boston Society of Architects Design Award – Wurster Workshop Shop Addition to UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design, California