The Faculty Club is an architectural gem nestled between Hertz Hall and Strawberry Creek. The initial building was designed by famed architect Bernard Maybeck in the late 1800s, and since then, it has been added onto and revised into a composite of several buildings that provide a space for conversation and fellowship for its patrons.
Contrary to popular belief, the Faculty Club is open to students and nonmembers, and, indeed, many young visitors can be seen perusing the food lines during weekday mealtimes. On an average day, the casual passer-through is privy to a host of comforts encompassed by the facilities.
Trees and other carefully curated plants fringe the outside of the building, providing a pleasant backdrop for the inside windows to look out on.
The Great Hall is one of the largest rooms at the Faculty Club and is usually used for seating at mealtimes, although occasionally the furniture is moved aside to make room for guest lectures.
A man grabs a quick bite to eat in the Great Hall.
Salads in the cafeteria wait to be eaten.
One of the functions of the Faculty Club is to house visiting professors and speakers in hotel-style rooms upstairs. This woman had traveled from Washington, D.C., to present a workshop on grant-writing, and she said the highlight of her stay up to this point was the “excellent soup, it was very good.”
Members of the Cosmos Club enter a room set up for their monthly meeting.
It’s a popular venue for committee events, and the rooms are frequently used for meetings and functions.
The Faculty Club is host to a number of smaller rooms typically used for meetings and close conversation.
“It’s changed enormously in roles of women,” says Carol D’Onofrio, a former member of the board, who has frequented the club since she arrived at UC Berkeley as a young professor in 1963. The building began as a men’s faculty club before it became the Faculty Club. When women joined the staff, they were made to “come in through the kitchen,” D’Onofrio remembers, until reforms were made. She recounts socializing with “eclectic groups of people, very informed, inquisitive, talkative” during her visits to the club, and she fondly recalls multitudes of warm evenings spent chatting with friends.
One of D’Onofrio’s favorite places is the bar because of its infectiously social environment. “It’s enormously fun,” she says. “(The bartender) has a great sense of humor, and it’s always fun to take lunch there.”
Chairs are placed throughout the club in nooks such as this, creating cozy corners in which one may catch up on work, wind down and indulge in a moment of stillness or read in the light coming in through the window.
The visitor’s experience at the club is marked by tasteful architecture, essential comforts and spaces conducive to mingling and fellowship. Its rich history and secure niche on Berkeley’s campus make it an essential spot for professors, members and students alike.