Housing at the University of California, Berkeley

Housing at the University of California, Berkeley

Housing at the University of California, Berkeley consists of student housing facilities run by the office of Residential and Student Service Programs. Housing is also offered by off-campus entities such as fraternities and sororities, and cooperatives (see "See Also" section).


UCB Housing and Dining facilities

When first built in the 1950s and 1960s, the "highrise" buildings of Units 1, 2, and 3 consisted of four buildings surrounding a common ground-level dining area above a mail room, recreation room, and office structure. Units 1 and 2 have many of the newest residence hall buildings, which are intended for continuing and transfer students.[1]

Each nine-story building is named after alumni or faculty and were originally designed for single-sex occupancy and configured with a ground floor lobby and recreation room. Each of the eight floors have approximately 15 14x14 ft. rooms, plus a single large bathroom with lockers, sinks, toilet stalls, and shower stalls. Each room on the floor was a double, except for the rooms at the buildings' corners, which were triples. Even numbered floors had laundry rooms, and odd numbered floors had floor lounges(essentially two adjoining rooms with the wall removed).

Units 1, 2, and 3 have since become co-ed, and all of the bathrooms have had their stalls renovated to improve privacy. Other changes from the original 1950's configuration of Units 1 and 2 include:

  • 4th floor lacks a laundry room (converted instead into a double)
  • Most courtyard-facing rooms are double-occupancy, outward-facing rooms are generally triples
    • except rooms for hall staff (housed on even-numbered floors) and those modified for potential disabled persons use (found on the first floor of certain buildings)
  • The individual dining commons for Units 1 and 2 were replaced by a new larger one called Crossroads located on the block separating the two Units
  • As a result of the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake, additional cross bracing was added to the exteriors of the highrise Unit 1 and 2 buildings.

All units usually have an unannounced fire drill some time during the first few weeks. While the administration has stated that the drill is intentionally unannounced to test the readiness of students, it has been criticized that the unannounced fire drills can disrupt student activities.[citation needed]

The residential dining commons are operated by Cal Dining.

Unit 1

A view of the newly-built Christian Hall

The main buildings of Unit 1 are located at 2650 Durant Avenue, but the facility includes a few satellite locations as well (denoted in italics).

  • Channing-Bowditch Apartments
  • Cheney Hall
  • Christian Hall (opened 2005)
  • Deutsch Hall
  • Freeborn Hall
  • Ida L. Jackson House (formerly known as College-Durant Apartments)
  • Putnam Hall
  • Shorb House, 2547 Channing Way
  • Slottman Hall (opened 2005)

Crossroads is the dining facility serving Units 1 and 2.

Unit 2

Unit 2 is located at 2650 Haste Street.

  • Cunningham Hall
  • Davidson
  • Ehrman Hall
  • Griffiths Hall
  • Towle Hall (opened 2005)
  • Wada Hall (opened 2005)

The resident professor for Unit 2 is George W. Chang

Cunningham Hall and the newly-built Towle Hall

Crossroads is the dining facility serving Units 1 and 2.

Unit 3

The main buildings of Unit 3 are located at 2400 Durant Avenue.

  • Beverly Cleary Hall (opened early 1990s, formerly Haste-Channing)
  • Ida Sproul Hall
  • Norton Hall
  • Manville Apartments
  • Priestley Hall
  • Spens-Black Hall

Until 1994, Manville Hall was a part of Unit 4 and was the only residence hall directly on the main Berkeley campus. It primarily housed law, graduate, and upper division students and, as such, was known for being relatively quiet, the occupants of the 1992-1993 academic year being a notable exception. It has since been renamed Simon Hall and converted to office use for Boalt Law School. A new "Manville Apartments" building was built near the corner of Channing Way and Shattuck Avenue. Like its predecessor, housing priority for this facility is given to law students.

Café 3 is the dining facility serving Unit 3, and after being closed for the Fall 2006 semester for major renovations, it reopened in Spring 2007.

Bear Market is located adjacent to Cafe 3.

Unit 3 does not have laundry rooms in the residence halls and instead has a centralized laundry room for use by Priestly, Ida Sproul, Norton and Spens Black. It is located underground in the central building.

Bowles/Stern/Foothill/La Loma (Unit 4)

Foothill - La Loma
  • Bowles Hall is the first UC Berkeley residence hall on campus; established in 1928. It is the only all-male residence hall currently in existence (Deutsch Hall being a former one). Bowles Hall is infamous for its location directly above the Hayward Fault Zone. The University claims that living there was a great experience for students, filled with tradition and fellowship.[2] Bowles Hall was once ranked as one of Playboy magazine's top-10 college parties during Halloween, however the university within the past few years has cracked down on this activity. Currently, the residence is being courted by the Haas School of Business to become housing for scholars and business professionals who visit Berkeley.[3] There was a great deal of opposition to this plan and since then the school has backed down from that decision.[4]

In recent years, Bowles Hall was heavily considered by Haas School of Business as a potential site for housing members of its executive education program, but was in 2007 denounced.[5] This residence hall is like a fraternity, with many of its residents staying all four years. However, in 2005 the university decided to limit Bowles to freshmen because of complaints that it had become too raucous and was jeopardizing the learning environment.[6]

Stern Hall is the all-female residence hall on campus.[5]

Foothill was completed in 1990, and consists of the Hillside and La Loma complexes.

Due to its variety of accommodations, Foothill residence halls are the most expensive to live in. Unit 4 is the only unit to not be certified ADA accessible.[citation needed]. Recently, in an effort to forward the ADA notion, the Foothill Bridge was installed. The bridge extends from Foothill-La Loma over the road to Foothill-Hillside.[7] There has been controversy[8] surrounding the installation of the bridge, issues that it does involve include helping to alleviates any potential risk for students and students with disabilities when they cross the busy intersection that their residence hall borders.[9]

Unit 4's dining facility is named after Foothill.

Clark Kerr Campus (Unit 5)

Clark Kerr Campus is a Spanish mission style residential complex located 5 blocks southeast of the main UC Berkeley campus.


Clark Kerr Campus was constructed in 1869 as the State Asylum for the Deaf, Dumb, and Blind. It was used by the California Schools for the Deaf and Blind until 1980, when the schools were forced to relocate after the complex was declared seismically unsafe. Following the school's relocation, a large debate occurred between the City of Berkeley and UC Berkeley. The city wanted to continue the tradition of using the site as a location for affordable housing for the needy, while the university wanted to expand its residential housing. A court decided on the issue, giving the majority of the site to the university, and granting 3 acres (12,000 m2) to the city for nonprofit use. UC Berkeley opened the site as a residential complex in 1983 and named it Clark Kerr Campus in 1986, after the first chancellor of the university, Clark Kerr. In the same year, the city of Berkeley founded Redwood Gardens, a home for financially needy elderly people. On September 21, 1981, Clark Kerr Campus was designated a Berkeley Landmark (#42) and in 1982, Clark Kerr Campus was placed on the National Register of Historic Places (#82000962).

Clark Kerr Campus commonly houses over 500 students during school months.[10] It features several residential buildings that contain dormitory style rooms and suites. Along with the residence halls, the campus also has a pool, sand volleyball area, tennis court, jogging track and a dining commons. The Claremont Hills overlook the campus and are a great place to hike. From the top of the hill, next to the secluded and run down jogging track, one can see a beautiful outline of the city of San Francisco. The college is updating the campus, several buildings at a time. Construction on half of the Clark Kerr campus was completed in 2009.[10]


Channing-Bowditch is a resident hall only open to upper-division and transfer students. The building houses 226 students in 57 apartment units spanned across 4 floors. The benefits of living in 'Cha-Bo', as students refer to it, is its close proximity to campus (2 blocks) and offering residence hall living without the 'dorm' feel and the otherwise obligatory meal plan. The complex boasts a laundry room, 4 study rooms, a student lounge, bike racks, and more. Construction for the building was completed in 2003.

Family housing

Students with families are eligible to live in University Village's East or West Village, and in the Smyth-Fernwald development.[11]

University Village

University Village is a housing community for married students. It is located within the city limits of Albany about two miles (3 km) northwest of the main Berkeley campus. The demolition of older buildings and their subsequent replacement with new, more expensive apartment units has prompted student protests. The Village Residents Association, a funding and advocacy group in University Village, filmed a video documentary regarding the lack of affordable student family housing in June 2007.[12] Smyth-Fernwald is scheduled for demolition in 2010.


Smyth-Fernwald is within the City of Berkeley. It is about a ten to fifteen minute walk to the main Berkeley campus,[13] on the southeast side of the Berkeley campus. The complex has two and three bedroom apartments, and houses 74 families.[14]

The complex includes a Multipurpose Building. The western section contains offices and a community center. The eastern section was abandoned. In 1999, due to creep structural damage and safety concerns, some complex buildings south of the multipurpose building were demolished.[15]

The complex is within the Berkeley Unified School District. On July 13, 1994 the district adopted its current zone maps. Smyth-Fernwald is within the Southeast Zone. Students in that zone may be assigned to Emerson, Le Conte, Malcolm X, and John Muir.[16] The complex is zoned to Willard Middle School.[17][18] Berkeley High School is the sole zoned high school in the district.

In 2010 the Berkeley Daily Planet stated that the university scheduled the remainder of the complex for demolition.[19]

Theme housing

Theme housing provides an academic residential environment for students who share an interest in a particular cultural theme. Students who are a part of these theme programs take a class that explores the histories, language, and literature of the respective groups and work closely with their sponsoring academic department. Students must apply for theme housing. There are currently six theme programs at Cal and their locations, denoted in italics, are listed below.

  • African American (AATP) - Unit 1, Christian Hall
  • Asian Pacific American (APATH) - Unit 2, Cunningham Hall
  • Casa Magdalena Mora - Unit 3, Beverly Cleary Hall
  • Global Environment Theme House (GETH) - Foothill
  • Unity House - Foothill, La Loma
  • Women in Science & Engineering - Foothill
  • Native American (NATP) - Unit 1, Slottman Hall

International House

The International House (or I-House) is located along Piedmont Avenue, right where Bancroft Way ends. It is home to many of the University of California Berkeley's international students, with half international and half American residents. The International House is an independent, self-supporting non-profit organization that has close associations with the university. International House Berkeley officially opened on August 18, 1930. It was the largest student housing complex in the Bay Area and the first coeducational residence west of the Mississippi.

See also

External links


  1. ^ 01.11.2005 – New residence halls, new students arrive for spring semester
  2. ^ Living at Cal - Bowles
  3. ^ contracostatimes.com: Haas eyes residence hall to house program
  4. ^ BERKELEY / UC backs down on plan to convert dorm
  5. ^ a b BERKELEY / UC backs down on plan to convert dorm
  6. ^ The Daily Californian
  7. ^ Welcome to RSSP Housing Projects, UC Berkeley
  8. ^ The Daily Californian - City Grants Foothill Bridge Permit
  9. ^ Donald MacDonald FAIA Bridge Architects
  10. ^ a b http://www.housing.berkeley.edu/livingatcal/fallfreshmen.html
  11. ^ "Students with Families." University of California Berkeley. Retrieved on 2 October 2011.
  12. ^ Affordable Student Family Housing – UC Berkeley
  13. ^ "Smyth Fernwald." Smyth Fernwald. Retrieved on October 2, 2011. "Dwight Way & Fernwald Rd."
  14. ^ "The Smyth Fernwald Complex." UC Berkeley Housing. Retrieved on October 2, 2011.
  15. ^ "Smyth-Fernwald Residential Complex." UC Berkeley Geology. Retrieved on October 2, 2011.
  16. ^ "A Guide to School Zones." (map) Berkeley Unified School District. Retrieved on October 2, 2011.
  17. ^ "School Zones (F)." Berkeley Unified School District. Retrieved on October 2, 2011. "Fernwald Road 2400 to 2499 Southeast Willard"
  18. ^ "School Zones (D)." Berkeley Unified School District. Retrieved on October 2, 2011. "Dwight Way" "2100 to 3099 Southeast Willard"
  19. ^ Moore, Kevin. "UC Berkeley Plans to Destroy Smyth-Fernwald." The Berkeley Daily Planet. Wednesday April 7, 2010. Retrieved on October 2, 2011.

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