“The building stimulates interaction, discussion and collaboration on both the teaching and research floors much better than did the old layout, and inspires the building occupants with the beauty and history of the preserved, restored building.”
– Judy Chess, Assistant Director, Capital Projects
The renovated Old LeConte Hall, home of the UC Berkeley Physics Department and 10 Nobel Laureates, is part of the university’s Integrated Physical Science Complex. Along with the new Campbell Hall and renovated New LeConte and Birge Halls, the complex facilitates close interaction between students and faculty within the University’s growing interdisciplinary science programs.
In addition to modernized classroom and lab spaces, the renovated building houses the new Berkeley Center for Cosmological Physics, which was created to offer exciting, fundamental scholarship at the highest level and provide a program of excellence and breadth that attracts the very top talent in the field.
The historic four-story building was designed by renowned architect John Galen Howard and built in 1923. As part of the renovation, an original skylight was uncovered and restored with energy efficient, high performance glass to provide natural light and a focal point for interaction between students and faculty.
The hall is associated with such prominent figures as John and Joseph LeConte, professors of science during the late nineteenth century (John was president of the University in 1876-1881); Ernest O. Lawrence, professor of physics during the development of atomic science and nuclear weapons; other Nobel laureates; and Howard as a master architect. For all of these connections to important persons and events, certain laboratories, lecture halls, and work spaces were designated as highly significant and required careful treatment during the renovation.