College of Environmental Design

Centennial Publications

Architecture Centennial Book [2009] | Landscape Architecture Centennial Book [2013]

Architecture Centennial Book

Design on the Edge:
A Century of Teaching Architecture, 1903–2003
By: Waverly Lowell, Elizabeth Byrne, Betsy Frederick-Rothwell
University of California, Berkeley, College of Environmental Design (2009)

Purchase book here.

In 2009, after a decade of research, interviews, and editing, UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design published Design on the Edge: A Century of Teaching Architecture, 1903–2003, a book chronicling the history of the University’s Department of Architecture, announced Jennifer Wolch, dean of the College of Environmental Design.

From its unofficial beginning on a San Francisco ferryboat to its current status as a nationally recognized program, the Architecture Department at the University of California, Berkeley, played a significant role in American architectural education. Faculty and alumni from the UC Berkeley Architecture Department have profoundly influenced architectural thought, practice, design, education, and the built environment of the San Francisco Bay Area. Design on the Edge provides insights into the history and development of the department that included such notables as John Galen Howard, William Wurster, Catherine Bauer Wurster, Erich Mendelsohn, Christopher Alexander, Joseph Esherick, Spiro Kostof, Sim Van der Ryn, Dell Upton, and Marc Treib, as well as more recent rising stars such as Michael Bell and Lisa Iwamoto. From its inception, Berkeley’s architecture program enrolled women and minorities; recently, more than 50% of its graduates have been women. Discover how Berkeley’s Architecture Department became the national model for incorporating social responsibility and environmental sustainability into design and design education.

By assembling a wide array of informal reflections, scholarly essays, and writings from a variety of past and current students, staff, and faculty, Design on the Edge will appeal to a broad audience of people interested in architecture, pedagogy, the creative process, and the built environment of California. Its hundreds of photographs and drawings and readable text will engage and entertain.

For more information, contact:

Waverly Lowell
Tel: 510-643-5655
FAX: 510-642-2824

Elizabeth Byrne
Tel: 510-643-7323
FAX: 510-642-8266

Book Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: University of California, Berkeley, College of Environmental Design, 2009
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9780981966731
  • Product Dimensions: 9-1/4" x 11-1/4"
  • Price: $40.00 (tax and shipping included)
  • Proceeds support the Environmental Design Archives

Purchase Book here.


Press Release [.doc] | Product Description [.doc] | Book Cover [.jpg]

Several low resolution images from the book are shown below. For print ready versions of these images, please contact the Environmental Design Archive.


For its first 50 years, the UC Berkeley Architecture Department was housed in a small, shingled building that everyone called the "Ark." It was designed by well-known Bay Area architect and founder of the department, John Galen Howard, in 1906.


Architecture students in the Ark, 1928. 


William Wurster, a well-known Bay Area architect, was invited by the UC Architecture Department to bring the program into the "modern" era. He's pictured here (right) in 1952 with Walter Gropius, the founder of the Bauhaus in Germany and later an instructor at Harvard University. (Courtesy of Prof. Emeritus Richard Peters.) 


As the new dean of the Architecture Department, William W. Wurster invited innovative and forward-thinking architects and designers to reinvigorate the program and shape a new curriculum. Here, students stand with their projects from Charles Eames' new course "1N" in 1954. 


Well-known European Modernist Erich Mendelsohn, pictured here with his students, taught at UC Berkeley from 1948-1953. (Courtesy of George Kostritsky.) 


Student work changed significantly over the years, from a Beaux-Arts to a Modern approach. Note the difference between a 1930 drawing of a "swimming club" (above) by student (and later architecture professor) Vernon DeMars and the image below ... 


... of a 1961 drawing of a "professional-commercial center" by student George Winnacker. 


Having outgrown the Ark, the Architecture Department in 1964 moved to its current home in Wurster Hall. During the first weeks of occupying Wurster Hall, the department had to close its doors more than once because of student civil rights protests on campus. 


Over the years, many world-class designers and educators have made their mark on the department either as lecturers or as visiting instructors, including Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Kahn, and Buckminster Fuller, pictured here (center) collaborating with UC Berkeley students and faculty on his "Fly's Eye" project. (Courtesy of Prof. Emeritus Claude Stoller.) 


Architecture students in the famously colorful stairwell in Wurster Hall, 1999, just prior to the building closing for a major seismic retrofit. (Photo by Maria Moreno.) 

Landscape Architecture Centennial Book

Landscape at Berkeley:
The First 100 Years
Editors: Waverly Lowell, Elizabeth Byrne, Carrie L. McDade
Regents of the University of California and the College of Environmental Design (Fall 2013)

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Designing the Environment

Landscape at Berkeley was published in conjunction with the centennial anniversary celebration of the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning. Through scholarly essays, reminiscences, and illustrations, the monograph represents both commemoration of the Department and a greater understanding of the Berkeley campus. It also endeavors to trace Berkeley’s role in the history of the profession and design education in the United States.

Teaching landscape architecture at UC Berkeley began in 1913 with the appointment of John Gregg as Assistant Professor in Landscape Gardening and Floriculture, and his establishment of a curriculum of professional instruction in the College of Agriculture. It was the fifth such program founded in the United States and offered a four-year B.S. degree that provided both theoretical and practical instruction for practitioners and a less-technical education in design principles and aesthetics.

Over the ensuing century, the teaching of landscape architecture and environmental planning at UC Berkeley has engaged new directions in pedagogy, design, research, and practice, and has established itself as a cutting edge leader in design education emphasizing ecology, natural resources, and social equity. Many important figures — including Thomas Church, Garrett Eckbo, Robert Royston, Geraldine Knight Scott, Clare Cooper Marcus, Peter Walker, Tito Patri, Donald Appleyard, Shlomo Aronson, Richard Untermann, Moura Quayle, Michael Trevino, and Walter Hood (truly a short list!) — have been associated with the Berkeley program.

Landscape at Berkeley focuses on the first hundred years of teaching landscape architecture and environmental planning on the UC Berkeley campus and captures an important localized perspective as well as primary source evidence that will enhance broader examinations of the major issues that have shaped the profession and the environments we inhabit and visit. Furthermore, it will contribute to the increasing scholarly interest in and literature on the history of design education, particularly that of landscape architecture and environmental planners. As such, it will appeal to a diverse audience of scholars, students, design professionals, policy makers, and the general public.

The monograph includes a comprehensive narrative history and schematic timeline of key events; scholarly essays exploring the activities of UC Berkeley students and faculty within the broader context of design history, education, research, practice, policy, and leadership; reminiscences of current and former faculty and students; and a color portfolio of student work illustrating curricular goals, program competitions, and the formative work of many individuals who have contributed to the profession locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally.

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Book Details

  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Regents of the University of California and the College of Environmental Design, 2013
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 978-0-615-82070-5
  • Product Dimensions: 9" x 11"
  • Pre-order Price (before January 1, 2014): $35.00
  • Publication Price (starting January 1, 2014): $45.00
  • Proceeds support the Department of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning, UC Berkeley

Beatrix Farrand

Beatrix Farrand sitting in her Reef Point Library. Throughout her professional career she divided her time between creative design and landscape design history.

Thomas Church

Thomas Church as a landscape student learning surveying, 1922.


Cover of the 1955 issue of Space, a student publication of the Department of Landscape Architecture, for which distinguished alumnus Peter Walker was editor in chief.

Robert Royston

Distinguished alumnus Robert Royston was a lecturer in the department for a time and often participated in design reviews. Here he is critiquing a student project, c. 1964.

Student Demonstration

Students holding a demonstration against the Vietnam War in the courtyard of Wurster Hall, 1968.

Photos courtesy of the Environmental Design Archives, University of California, Berkeley.