The politics of modern design within a historic downtown district & the dialog between past & present.




















Berkeley's Civic Center Historic District

While sited in downtown Berkeley, amongst many historic and landmark buildings, the design of the school was near completion when the Civic Center Historic District was officially recognized.  In May 1998, the district was listed on the California Register of Historical Resources and the National Register of Historic Places.  The statement of significance states in part:

"These diverse community buildings, located in Berkeley's most important public space, reflect significant social aspects of Berkeley's history, important to the citizens' health, safety, and welfare.  The park layout and its buildings were executed by renowned designers and fortunately the district is largely unaltered and retains a high degree of integrity.  As a result, Berkeley's Civic Center is locally significant as an ensemble of harmoniously planned buildings and as a collective body of civic architecture"

Placement within this district provides fodder for those opposed to various aspects of the design and opens up the question of how to design in a historic district.



October 28, 1998 letter from the Landmarks Preservation Commission to the Berkeley Unified School District regarding historical status and possible implications:

January 13, 1999 letter from the Office of Historic Preservation to the Landmarks Preservation Commission states exact implications of placement on the National Register of Historic Places:

March 30, 1999 letter from the Office of Historic Preservation to Mayor Shirley Dean asking the city to pressure the BUSD to comply with their requests:

S.F. Gate article, February 28, 2000, on Berkeley's Landmarks Preservation Commision's battle for Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park: