Architecture is life, or at least it is life itself taking form and therefore it is the truest record of life as it was lived in the world yesterday, as it is lived today or ever will be lived.
Frank Lloyd Wright
The Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association presented awards to property owners Thursday night, saluting what association members said was the extra time and expense honorees spent to maintain the city’s wealth of historic architecture.
About 150 people attended the ceremonies at Spenger’s Fresh Fish Grotto, according to event organizers. The evening included remarks from Berkeley historical author and publisher Malcolm Margolin.
“I think the value of the awards presentation is not only the recognition of those who have accomplished such extraordinary things in preservation, but they also serve as inspiration for those who are considering plunging into similar projects,” said Awards Committee member Mary Lee Noonan.
The Awards Committee selected 16 buildings for awards and special commendations from a field of over 30 nominations. The buildings were judged according to how well architectural detail was maintained and incorporated into refurbishing, upgrading and retrofitting that took place in the last year.
The awards spanned the gambit of Berkeley architecture from single family homes on the west side of town to the recent $35 million remodel and retrofit of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Civic Center, which was commemorated this month.
The Awards Committee consisted Susan Chase, Jeannie de Vries, Jane Edgington, Richard Ehrenberger and Noonan, all of whom have backgrounds in architecture.
Alvin K. Ludwig and Dorothy Duff Brown, owners of a house, received a Preservation Award for restoring the 82-year-old home, built by Carl Ericsson.
“We salute, in particular, the glowing beauty of the interior where the gracious spaces of the living room, dinning room and library are filled with light and the warmth of the perfectly restored paneling.” Noonan wrote in her presentation speech. “(The remodel) is clearly a labor of love.”
Noonan said the owners did most of the work themselves. One project was transforming a 1950s’ sandstone fireplace with clinker bricks, which were salvaged in the restoration of the chimney. They “restored the interior and exterior themselves, patiently removing layers of paint from the paneling, reusing materials wherever possible, rehabilitating every detail with infinite care.”
A larger restoration project that received recognition was the Martin Luther King, Jr. Civic Center at 2180 Milvia St. The original Art Deco building, designed by James Plachek in 1938, underwent a major retrofit and remodel that adapted the stylized interiors to the needs of modern city employees.
“A revered landmark has been given a new lease on life,” Noonan wrote. “The city has demonstrated its commitment to the value of preserving Berkeley’s distinctive architectural fabric.”
Department of Public Works Director Rene Cardinaux said he was delighted to be a part of bringing an older building into the modern era in a way that preservationists could be happy with. “I was also very glad to be able to thank the BAHA for all their help during the remodel and all their efforts to save the building when there were a lot of people in town that wanted to tear it down,” he said.
The following is a list of 2001 BAHA Preservation Awards.
1. West Gate, on the UC Berkeley campus
2. McDuffie Garden at 10 Roble Road.
3. Sharffen Berger Chocolate Company at 914 Heinz Ave.
4. Beckett’s Irish Pub and Restaurant at 2271 Shattuck Ave.
5. A Craftsman home at 2928 Ellis St.
6. A Victorian home at 3009 Elllis St.
7. Carl Ericsson House at 1625 Jaynes St.
8. Henry C. Reid House on Mendocino Road
9. Kennedy-Carter House at 1314 Arch St.
10. The Underhill Sproul House.
1. Spenger’s Fresh Fish Grotto, 1919 4th St.
2. Library Hall and West Hall at 2016 7th St.
3. Martin Luther King, Jr. Civic Center 2180 Milvia St.
4. John Galen Howard House at 1401 LeRoy Ave.
5. Maybeck Cottage at 1 Maybeck Twin Drive.
6. The Garber Street Garage at 2746 Garber St.