Saturday, May 8, 2010

Berkeley City Club


In February, the Northern California Chapter of HALS agreed to document the gardens at the Berkeley Club. I sent out an email inviting volunteers to help with measuring the site and collecting the existing conditions information, and was delighted when several new volunteers responded, including Kris Zhang and Daniella Sawaya - architecture students from UC Berkeley, Sarka Volejnikova a landscape designer, Marilyn Novell who is a member of the club and finishing her master’s thesis as an architectural historian, Celia McCarthy, a cultural resource planner, and Bob Towar who works with PGAdesign.

We all met in the East Court of the club this morning, where I gave a brief overview of HALS and showed examples of other sets of HALS drawings that have been completed by our HALS group and PGA. Sarka had previously prepared base plans for today’s efforts, using a digital copy of the original building plan designed by architect, Julia Morgan in 1929.

After a tour of the garden, led by Gary the club’s dedicated gardener, we divided into three teams of two and set about measuring the different garden spaces. Marilyn and Daniella took charge of the planting at the front of the building while Bob and Kris did the East Court. Both of these groups completed measuring and sketching all of the hardscape features – sidewalk, street trees, courtyard paving, planting beds, fountains, pots, etc. and then they sketched in the plants. Gary and I assisted with plant identification and between the two of us were able to correctly indentify nearly every plant.

Sarka, Celia and Daniella tackled all the rest including the West Court, west loggia, the yard in the northwest corner of the property, plus all of the garden spaces on the north side of the building. They completed recording the hardscape features and will draft those up before going back to add the plantings in these areas. I took digital photos, answered questions, took a few measurements along the east fa├žade, and helped with plant identification.



Everyone worked hard, had fun and together we accomplished a great deal. Next steps are to draft all of today’s field notes and finish the plant placement and identification. I plan to do some sketches of the garden and want to work on the plant list – Gary provided a very helpful list of plants by area. Sarka, Daniella and Kris have all volunteered to help with the drafting.

As we work on the drawings anther team of volunteers, led by Gretchen Hilyard, will be doing the historic research and writing the narrative. Members of the Landmark Heritage Foundation have already provided us with lots of historic photographs, articles about the garden, and other information that will be invaluable. I’ll share more about all this as we make progress.

Top: Sarka and Celia

Next: Daniella and Marilyn

Next: Kris drawing at the table with Bob taking measurements in the garden

Next: Planting detail

Below: Relief in the West court

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