A reception in support of CED’s Environmental Design Archives honored Lowell’s legacy while looking towards its curatorial future
June 20, 2018
As the visionary behind UC Berkeley’s Environmental Design Archives, Waverly Lowell has collected, curated, and championed the design history of the San Francisco Bay Area, providing an archival resource unmatched by many other architecture and design schools.
At a recent EDA benefit and reception in her honor, San Francisco Chronicle urban design critic John King referred to Lowell as a “force of nature,” and highlighted her ability to consistently curate exhibitions that remain as topical and relevant today as the period in which they were created. “She’s just creative and tenacious in pursuing new ideas and recording the built environment,” King said. “She comes up with ideas that resonate in the context of the past, present and future,” he said, referencing the EDA’s Designing People exhibit which examined the representation of human form in architectural renderings.
Stephen Tobriner, former EDA curator and UC Berkeley professor emeritus, recalled the closed-door approach of other design archives, “When I was assistant professor in 1973, I had been in Sicily and had a hard time accessing archives and thought, ‘It’s our responsibility to open things up.’” Tobriner worked tirelessly to keep items from being destroyed and was relieved to hand over the helm to Lowell: “It’s just marvelous that Waverly came along. [Addressing Lowell] “You’ve just made it what I’ve always wanted it to be,” he shared.
Jennifer Wolch, Dean of CED, added, “From the time she arrived to lead the EDA, Waverly has had an ambitious vision for the Archives — a vision that she has successfully realized. Due to her efforts, the EDA is a major scholarly resource as well as a community asset.”
The Packing the Box benefit was hosted by Brooks Walker III and Summer Tompkins Walker in support of the archive’s commitment to preserving and promoting the landscape and urban design heritage of Northern California. Brooks is a co-founding principal of Walker Warner Architects.
Chris Marino, current Assistant Curator of the Archives, will fill Lowell’s position as Curator in July.
Read about the Archives and its eclectic treasures in the Frameworks alumni magazine. To make a gift to the Environmental Design Archives in honor of Waverly, donate online, or contact Gail Stanley at email@example.com or (510) 643-1105.