CED alumna Clare Robinson (Ph.D. Architecture ‘12), was recently recognized by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture with an award for her article in the Journal of Architectural Education titled, “Architecture in Support of Citizenry: Vernon DeMars and the Berkeley Student Union.”
Her work examines the environmental, historical, philosophical shifts in how UC Berkeley leaders and architects designed and discussed student gathering spaces, focusing on the ways in which postwar 1950s environmental planning evolved under UC Berkeley president and chancellor Clark Kerr. Reactions to policy adjustments under his leadership — and shifting cultural norms and campus expansion — inspired and energized the much-publicized Free Speech Movement in the 1960s.
Robinson’s article investigates how the planning and design of Sproul Plaza and California Memorial Union (later named after Martin Luther King Jr. ) by architects Vernon DeMars and Donald Hardison, and landscape architect Lawrence Halprin, served as an ideal space for mass assemblies. Modeled after the Piazza San Marco in Venice, DeMars, Hardison and Halprin imagined the union and plaza as a model environment for modern citizenry, surrounded by civic-focused campus departments and buildings.
Read Robinson’s article about how the Berkeley Student Union and surrounding spaces served as an ideal protest locus for the Free Speech Movement.
Clare Robinson, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor in the School of Architecture at the University of Arizona, where she teaches courses in modern architectural history and theory. Robinson received a Doctorate in Architecture from UC Berkeley, a Master of Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and a Bachelor of Art from Smith College. Her research examines architecture and planning in the mid-twentieth century, focusing on social environments on college campuses for their educational, social, and economic import. She also studies the rhetoric and expression of identity in architecture, cities, and memorials and brings to her teaching a wide range of interests, from institutional architecture and leisure environments to regional planning.