UCB Lower Sproul Plaza: Revitalizing a Historic Civic Space
University of California, Berkeley
Lead Landscape Architect: Willett Moss, FAAR
Client: University of California, Berkeley
This 2.6 acre site sits on the south edge of campus and has served as the historic host of Berkeley's civil rights and free speech movements. Having served beyond its lifespan, the focus was to reimagine and revitalize this derelict area into a common gathering space for the entire campus and community. The new design reinvigorates the central space and celebrates its important history and legacy. Fundamental urban design strategies provide universal access, reduce the apparent size of the existing plaza, activate indoor outdoor relationships, and introduce planting. Flexible outdoor spaces complement uses inside the surrounding buildings. Challenging topography was solved by incorporating the planting strategy into a stair and ramp scheme that traverses significant grade changes.Sustainability was a key priority and to ensure the site and building infrastructure were highly integrated, an aggressive stormwater treatment and grey water reuse program was developed. A portion of the site watershed rainwater is collected for irrigation and toilet flushing, and a rain garden captures and filters additional stormwater runoff which is returned to a nearby creek.