Yes, this is a campus building crawl. Why would we do a building crawl, you ask? Because you, like us, are hopeless when it comes to following through on the promise you made to yourself at the beginning of the semester: finally exploring the campus and seeing all of the interesting goodies it has to offer … including its buildings.
Sure you’ve hung out with dinosaurs in the Valley Life Sciences Building or stood atop Wheeler Hall with some friends until dusk, but have you ever
smoked a cigarette witnessed a heart-stopping sunset from one of the balconies in Eshleman Hall or had a nervous breakdown because you couldn’t find your way out of Dwinelle? Well, after reading this, you’ll definitely want to.
Considering that we spend so much time in The Daily Californian office located on the sixth floor of this building, it’s safe to say that we’re pretty partial to Eshleman. And while the Daily Cal is undoubtedly the awesomest student group that calls this building home, many groups (including your ASUC student government) are housed here. So basically, Eshleman might just be the most powerful building on campus. Admittedly, it isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing building on campus, but the views from the higher floors (i.e. sixth floor) make up for the poor architecture. Not only does Eshleman have enormous windows perfect for picturesque views of the Campanile, spotting protests and listening to spontaneous concerts, but also balconies for views beautiful enough to make you want to join the Clog staff simply for the access.
The building is also home to Eshleman Library, quite possibly the greatest hidden gem on campus. What makes this library such a jewel, you ask? As Clog editor Jillian Wertheim puts it: The fact that “you’re allowed to bring food and talk in this library [makes] it way more legit than most of the others on campus.”
Really, what can’t we say about Cheit? Apart from being home to a program (Haas School of Business) that consistently ranks one of the top 10 business schools in worldwide rankings, the sexiness of the hall alone must surely seduce a few students into becoming business majors. One of the more modern buildings on campus, Cheit is described by Clogger Bon Jin Koo as feeling oddly dissimilar, “like entering a school separate from [UC] Berkeley.” However, “don’t feel out of place if you see people in business suits walking about, you’re allowed here, too!” The state-of-the-art classrooms — equipped with super comfy chairs — and recently upgraded computer lab would make even an Occupy Berkeley protester want to become a business student.
Aptly referred to as “the freshman maze” because of its … uh, pretty gnarly design and numbering system (Seriously, how do you walk from floor F to G without going up or down?), Dwinelle Hall is the second largest building on campus (the largest being the Valley Life Science Building) at 300,000 square feet. To add to the confusion that is Dwinelle, an archived website was created for the hall and includes maps (We think it’s to prevent getting lost … maybe?), folklore (to confuse us as to why the design is so awful) and a hilarious article from the Daily Cal that describes a horror film based on the hall.
Dwinelle isn’t all bad though. In fact, if you’re a glass-half-full kind of person, getting lost in there is something of an adventure right before class. If you’re exhausted from your ordeal, Common Grounds – a quaint little cafe that carries Peet’s coffee (but can get pretty gottdamn hot on a sunny day) – is located on floor F and can be a great place to revitalize yourself.
If you’re looking for a quiet space to study, chat or snack but don’t want to be crammed into a hot room, Ishi Court is a great outdoor area that’s hidden in between the offices, leaving it less occupied than the courtyard on the eastern exit. The greenery and the walls’ lovely shade of red will ease your mind from midterms and allow you to remember those warm summer days hiking the Grand Canyon.
Also a great reason to love Dwinelle, according to Clogger Fiona Hannigan: “There is a secret special bathroom that is pretty classy — but we can’t tell you where it is, because it’s a secret.” Well, at least if you get lost searching for this secret bathroom, you can simply look for the blue signs marked “Need Help to Exit Building? WAIT HERE,” and pray that help arrives.
An example of “Neo-brutalist” architecture (probably because it’s so brutal to look at), Wurster Hall has to be … how do we say this … the most hideous building on campus. And since the gods (UC Berkeley administration) seem to have a fine sense of humor, the building is ironically home to Berkeley’s architecture department. Knee-slapper? We think so. To make things a bit more appealing to the eye, the stairway in the building’s north tower (the taller one) used to contain a lovely amount of artistic graffiti, poetry, anti-Stanford sentiments “and everything else you’d imagine finding in a bathroom stall, except larger and more artistic/creative,” as so beautifully told by Clogger Sophie Lee. However, after beings seismically retrofitted, the painting was banned. Fascists. So then, how do you make Wurster more charming? You place one of those annoying monthly emergency test sirens on the roof that scare the crap out of you and make you drop your $6 rice bowl from Ramona’s, that’s how (true story).
While it’s easy to view Evans Hall as a dull, depressing building that kinda has a not-so-cool rectangular shaped “Death Star” look to it, Jillian Wertheim explains to us why we shouldn’t be so hard on Evans:
“Evans gets a lot of crap from a lot of people. Why? Maybe they’re jealous of all the math majors who get to hang out in Evans all the time. Evans isn’t nearly as ugly as Wurster Hall and it’s not as hopelessly confusing as Dwinelle. In fact, it’s actually kind of pleasant. There’s a library inside with plush chairs that are rarely occupied, making Evans a perfect spot for a quick nap between classes. [Plus], the 10th floor balcony has a view that’ll knock your socks off. Check it out.”
Hearst Memorial Mining Building
“Holy F***!” is probably what you’ll be thinking when you first set foot in Hearst Memorial Mining Building. And, if you say it out loud, there’ll probably be a pretty cool resonating echo. Try it out! (Note: Please don’t try it out. There are really important studies going on in this building. Thanks.) Aside from the half naked gods and goddesses holding the roof up and the large wooden doors that contain creepy carvings of baby heads (WTF?), HMMB’s exterior really doesn’t look all that different from many of the buildings on campus. It’s when you open those heavy doors that the real magic begins. Entering the building with its brick walls and gorgeous ceiling is a travel through time; like walking through an old Chicago gang film where mobsters are shooting Tommy guns from the third floor while the hero fires back and rolls through the lobby unscathed. (Note: Please don’t run around the building pretending to be Al Capone.) The bulk of the beauty in the building is in the main lobby, but walking through the hallways and seeing walls full of
gibberish scientific jargon may entice you to switch majors. Or make you feel stupid. Either way, the lobby’s still heavenly.
Did we miss anything?
Please, let us know which other buildings you’d like us to cover for future crawls.
Earlier: Getting Thrifty
Image source (all): Ricardo Barton, Daily Cal
Tags:ASUC, Cheit Hall, Crawling Berkeley, Daily Cal, Dwinelle Hall, Eshleman Hall, evans hall, Haas School of Business, Hearst Memorial Mining Building, Wheeler Protest, Wurster Hall
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