A recent summer stroll through the University of California, Berkeley campus led us to Senior Hall, one of several current and recent projects of ours for UC Berkeley. Not many people know about this log cabin designed by John Galen Howard and completed shortly after the 1906 earthquake, tucked into the redwoods along Strawberry Creek. Senior Hall was the university’s first student hall (run by and for senior male students; female students, excluded from the building in the early days, quickly responded by raising their own funds and commissioning architect Julia Morgan to design “Senior Women’s Hall” on campus). The building has an interesting and secretive history, complete with a hidden chamber. Senior Hall is one of Howard’s most unusual structures — he is far better known for his neo-classical and Beaux Arts buildings, like UC Berkeley’s Campanile, Doe Library, Wheeler Hall and Sather Tower. But with Senior Men’s Hall, Howard wanted to build an example of “characteristic Californian architecture.”
CC By ND
Our work at Senior Hall involves architectural and preservation services for the re-roofing and deterioration repair of the unique log-built structure. Now nearly complete, the project entails the replacement of the existing historic single-over-skip sheathing roof with a shingle assemble designed to meet “Class A’ fire rating without compromise to the historic character of the building — both inside and out. Obtaining permission from the State Fire Marshall to allow wood shingles on the re-roof was an interesting challenge, which took a careful detailing and design approach by our master historian and preservation specialist Charlie Duncan. As Senior Hall is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, all work must meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties, Rehabilitation Treatment. The roof was in disrepair for many decades, with multiple layers of asphalt singles. We think it’s going to look great with its new shake roof and copper flashing and gutters! Tell us what you think.