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CLIENTUniversity of California, Berkeley

SERVICESMaster Planning, New Construction, Building Renovation, Interiors

LOCATIONBerkeley, CA

SIZE300,000 sq ft (Stadium) + 145,000 sq ft (Simpson Center)

STATUSCompleted 2012

CERTIFICATIONLEED Gold NC® (Memorial Stadium)

EXECUTIVE ARCHITECTHNTB Architecture

California Memorial Stadium is one of the most iconic and beloved structures on the UC Berkeley campus, yet decades of deferred maintenance and insufficient planning had stripped it of its purpose and civic prominence. Our team set out to restore the historic stadium to its former splendor while also integrating new modern training and amenity spaces, and addressing severe seismic issues.

New 2-acre plaza (Photo by Tim Griffith)
New 2-acre plaza (Photo by Tim Griffith)

The Stadium is visible from many points around the campus, the City of Berkeley, and neighboring cities—preserving the original façade was key to retaining the identity and restoring the dignity of the structure. Seismic issues were also of particular concern as the stadium literally straddles the Hayward Fault Line. Our team achieved the dual delicate historic preservation and major seismic retrofit by partially gutting the interior of the stadium while protecting the historic exterior through an extensive temporary bracing system. Then, special structural systems were implemented to allow the two halves of the bowl to move separately during a seismic event.

Stadium bowl and press box (Photo by Tim Griffith)
Stadium bowl and press box (Photo by Tim Griffith)
Game day on the plaza (Photo by Michael O’Callahan)
Game day on the plaza (Photo by Michael O’Callahan)
Stair from concourse level to plaza (Photo by Michael O’Callahan)
Stair from concourse level to plaza (Photo by Michael O’Callahan)
New press box at dusk (Photo by Jim Simmons)
New press box at dusk (Photo by Jim Simmons)

We set the new Simpson Center athlete training facility into the landscape and in front of the stadium as a land form building, creating a new grand 2-acre public plaza for the stadium on the roof. This design move freed up space and volume within the stadium, allowing for a new concourse and fan amenity spaces within the volume of the old structure. The new press box/club crowns the historic wall; its truss-like design acts as a counterpoint to the historic facade.

Section
Section
University Club (Photo by Tim Griffith)
University Club (Photo by Tim Griffith)
University Club (Photo by Tim Griffith)
University Club (Photo by Tim Griffith)
Stadium Club (Photo by Tim Griffith)
Stadium Club (Photo by Tim Griffith)
Hall of Fame (Photo by Tim Griffith)
Hall of Fame (Photo by Tim Griffith)
Field Club (Photo by Tim Griffith)
Field Club (Photo by Tim Griffith)

The new Simpson Center is seamlessly integrated into the hillside, complementing rather than competing with the stadium, and acting as a visual plinth for the stadium façade above. Skylights feed ample natural light into the open and airy interior spaces.

The Center houses 450 athletes within thirteen of the University’s intercollegiate men’s and women’s teams. We worked closely with the Cal Athletics Department to create a facility where they can realize their High Performance Initiative: a program that provides a systematic, multidisciplinary approach to training athletes for optimal physiological and psychological health, personal development, and high performance.

Main entry to the Simpson Center (Photo by Tim Griffith)
Main entry to the Simpson Center (Photo by Tim Griffith)
Stair from plaza to Simpson Center (Photo by Jim Simmons)
Stair from plaza to Simpson Center (Photo by Jim Simmons)
View into study lounge and sports therapy (Photo by Michael O’Callahan)
View into study lounge and sports therapy (Photo by Michael O’Callahan)
Strength and training area (Photo by Michael O’Callahan)
Strength and training area (Photo by Michael O’Callahan)
Water therapy (Photo by Michael O’Callahan)
Water therapy (Photo by Michael O’Callahan)
Therapy room (Photo by Michael O’Callahan)
Therapy room (Photo by Michael O’Callahan)
Student Lounge (Photo by Michael O’Callahan)
Student Lounge (Photo by Michael O’Callahan)
Broadcasting (Photo by Michael O’Callahan)
Broadcasting (Photo by Michael O’Callahan)
Dining (Photo by Michael O’Callahan)
Dining (Photo by Michael O’Callahan)
Locker room (Photo by Michael O’Callahan)
Locker room (Photo by Michael O’Callahan)
Team meeting room (Photo by Michael O’Callahan)
Team meeting room (Photo by Michael O’Callahan)

"The project represents a significant architectural achievement for the Berkeley campus, and yet, for all its complexity, the design result is stunningly simple to behold."

Rob Gayle, AIA, former Associate Vice Chancellor, Capital Projects

Aerial view (Photo by Steve Proehl)
Aerial view (Photo by Steve Proehl)

Awards and Press

  • AIA Institute Honor Award, Architecture — 2015
  • SCUP/AIA-CAE Award for Design Excellence, Rehabilitation, Restoration or Preservation — 2013
  • Winning Playbook — Architectural Record 2013
  • AIA Kansas City, Sports Venue Award — 2013
  • Berkeley Design Advocates, Biennial Award for Design Excellence — 2013
  • Three Buildings, Three Different Approaches — Architectural Record 2009
Stadium prior to renovation
Stadium prior to renovation
Press box and bleachers prior to renovation
Press box and bleachers prior to renovation
Structural bracing system used during renovation
Structural bracing system used during renovation

PHOTOGRAPHYTim Griffith, Michael O'Callahan, Jim Simmons, Steve Proehl