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Julia Morgan Hall

Girton Hall

Julia Morgan Hall

Julia Morgan Building Now Home in UC Botanical Garden

The UC Botanical Garden boasts more than 13,000 different kinds of plants, many
of them rare, exotic or endangered. Now the 34-acre haven nestled near the top of
Strawberry Canyon is home to something else quite precious: famed architect Julia
Morgan’s Girton Hall, built in 1911 and listed on both California and national historic
registries.

A complex effort to move the building from central campus up the hill was completed
on Sunday (Jan. 12,2014), after the final pieces of the rustic cabin-looking structure were
hoisted up and trucked in two separate runs slowly up Centennial Drive, followed by the
last of the smaller ends (the Entrance).

Work is already underway to reassemble Julia Morgan Hall and lovingly restore it to its original
form, which includes a large and impressive fireplace. An enlarged elevated deck will be
fitted onto the west side of the building, extending the view of colorful California sunsets
from beyond the building’s multi-paned French doorways that will open onto the deck.
The deck also will overlook the garden’s extensive native California plant collection, a
setting suitable for Girton, one of the more than 700 buildings designed by Morgan, also
a California native.

Sometime this summer or early fall, the building that is also a city of Berkeley landmark
and on the National Historic registrywill reopen for social celebrations and meetings, as
Morgan intended.

History

HISTORY

In 1910 the Associated Women Students asked prominent California architect Julia Morgan to design a small building for their activities on a wooded knoll just north of Strawberry Creek, east of what was then College Avenue, and about 500 feet south of the Greek Theatre. At the time, the Senior Men's Hall had been built but women did not have access to this or most other men's facilities. The young women staged programs and wrote letters to solicit funds. In the beginning, they referred to their project as Girton Hall, out of respect for the first women's college at Cambridge University, but by the time it was completed, it was officially known as Senior Women's Hall. In 1946, when College Avenue was closed, the building was moved about 160 feet west, to make room for the Gayley Road extension of Piedmont Avenue, Girton Hall 1944across the east side of the campus, into what became the shadow of Haas Business School. Its name was changed to Girton Hall in 1969 when it was given over to child care. It has served as a child care facility since that time but must now be moved to accommodate new space needs on campus.

Julia Morgan was an early graduate from UC Berkeley and is well known for many of her more ‘grandiose’ structures such as Hearst Castle, but Girton Hall is, in fact, the one and
only building entirely of her authorship on campus. Girton Hall is listed on the National and California Registers, and is a City of Berkeley landmark. Its identified historic significance is based on its association to “social history,” and for its being the work of an important architect, Julia Morgan. The only interior fitting known to be designed by Julia Morgan is the fire screen with the SWH (Senior Womens Hall) monogram that continues to adorn the beautifully fireplace that she designed.

Girton Hall is the University’s smallest and least known of Morgan's campus buildings,
but it exemplifies those qualities of planning, harmony, and proportion which "…bring pleasure to the eye and peace to the mind." It's conversion to a child care facility closed it to public use but it will return it to its original public use in the setting of the Botanical Garden where it will overlook the native California plant collection, the flora that it was intended to join. The original large outdoor gathering (socializing) space was largely lost in the initial move, but the addition of a 15 ft. wide, wooden deck will renew this spirit.

Click here to view Girton Hall's Historical Stucture Report

Click here to read "Girton Hall: The Gift of Julia Morgan" from the Chronicle of the University of California

The Move

THE MOVE

A complex effort to move the building from central campus up the hill was completed on Sunday (Jan. 12), after the final pieces of the rustic cabin-looking structure were hoisted up and trucked in two separate runs slowly up Centennial Drive.

Work is already underway to reassemble Girton Hall and lovingly restore it to its original form, which includes a large and impressive fireplace. An elevated deck will be fitted onto the west side of the building, extending the view of colorful California sunsets from beyond the building’s multi-paned French doorways that will open onto the deck. The deck also will overlook the garden’s extensive native California plant collection, a setting suitable for Girton, one of the more than 700 buildings designed by Morgan, also a California native.

The building site had long been designated a potential building site so that duplicates of most plants already existed in the main Mexican collection near the back of the Garden. To prepare for the building, a large number of plants were translocated and others were prepared by volunteer propagators to be offered for public sale. No accessions were lost in this process. Transformation of the site is documented in photos and videos below.

Before

(Click through to see larger images)


Getting Ready


The Move

For a more complete video of the Julia Morgan journey to the Garden, click here.


Route of Girton Hall Move on UC Berkeley Campus Map

Girton Hall Route of Move on Campus Map


New Location of Girton Hall at the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden

Location of Girton Hall on Botanical Garden Map

Timeline

TIMELINE

Autumn 2014 (tentative):

Girton Hall opens.

January 2014

Girton Hall is cut into pieces and trucked to the Botanical Garden. Work begins to reassemble the building.

July 2013:

Childcare moves to a new location.

2011:

Girton Hall refurbished for child care uses, including floor refinishing and new lighting.

1977:

Building structurally strengthened and architecturally upgraded under the supervison of Architect E. Paul Kelly.

1970:

Girton Hall becomes facility for childcare, housing the first student childcare program established on the Berkeley campus.

1969:

Kitchen renovated at Girton Hall, with new cabinets, sink, etc. Entry and bathroom carpeted.

1948/49:

Kitchen and bathroom painted, new curtains added. Floors refinished.

1948/49:

University takes over financial responsibility for the Hall and maintenance/upkeep.

1946:

Girton Hall was moved approximately 160 feet downhill to its present location. Its former site is now the site of recreation fields, and the road that the building originally stood along is no longer present. Building continues to serve as a Senior Women’s Hall.

1937:

Fundraising for “Improvements” to Girton Hall discussed during senior singings (nature of improvements not specified).

1923:

Roadway past Girton Hall turned into a stadium loop connecting to Piedmont Way off the northwest corner of the newly built Memorial Stadium. Building continues to serve as a Senior Women’s Hall.

1914:

A record book to include the signature of every senior woman is placed in the Hall. It is later noted as still present in 1949.

1911:

Girton Hall designed by Julia Morgan and constructed as a Senior Women’s Hall on a bucolic wooded site overlooking Strawberry Creek. The building provided a meeting and social hall dedicated to women students and their activities. First used in November.

1909-1911:

Fundraising for Senior Women’s Hall, preparation of site and plans.

Q and A

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