Design Review Committee evaluates future student residence, 18-story building

Mikaela Raphael/Staff

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The city’s Design Review Committee gave feedback for multiple building project proposals — including the replacement of Stiles Hall with a student residence and a Shattuck Avenue high-rise apartment — at its meeting Thursday.

The Stiles Student Housing Project would replace Stiles Hall and a surface parking lot with a mixed-use building on Dana Street between Bancroft Way and Durant Avenue. The building would provide housing for about 775 students, residence staff apartments and retail space.

Several members of the committee and the community noted their concerns about the large scale of the Stiles project and how densely populated the residence might be.

“This is a project of unprecedented scale for Berkeley,” said Berkeley resident Steven Finacom at the meeting.

All bedrooms are set to be doubles in the building, with a 30-to-1 ratio of students to resident assistants and access to Cafe 3. DRC member George Williams said he found the rooms too small for comfort.

“It’s better than living in your car, but not much better,” Williams said.

More spacious rooms, though, would be more expensive for students, said DRC member Savlan Hauser. She noted that fewer, more spacious rooms would be antithetical to the city and campus’s overarching objective to increase available housing for students.

“I’m actually envious that your building was not around when I was trying to be housed,” Hauser said, referring to when she was a UC Berkeley student struggling to find housing.

The proposed project comes as UC Berkeley prepares to welcome 750 additional new students in the fall.

A contentious proposal for the construction of an 18-story mixed-use residential building on 2190 Shattuck Ave. was also presented to the committee.

Because the building design includes a significant amount of glass, without certain design modifications, the building could be dangerous for small birds, according to Berkeley resident Erin Diehm. She further noted that the building does not target families enough.

While DRC members widely approved of the modern design, they were concerned that the proposed height would almost entirely block the view of the Golden Gate Bridge from Campanile Way — a similar concern that was brought up about the 2211 Harold Way project.

“The view’s a huge issue, and I don’t know how to get around it,” said DRC chair Burton Edwards. “This is going to be a big problem.”

The committee also approved final designs for the Acheson Commons project. The project aims to rehabilitate and construct buildings where the McFarlane Building on 1979-87 Shattuck Ave. and Ace Hardware building on 2145 University Ave. currently exist.

In addition, the project plans to rehabilitate the facades of the Acheson Physicians building on 2125 University Ave. and demolish or replace the buildings on 1922 and 1930 Walnut St. to create new mixed-use buildings.

“I think these buildings are going to be very beautiful,” said DRC member Austene Hall. “I just love the time and energy in this.”

At the meeting, the committee requested a view study from Campanile Way for the 18-story Shattuck Avenue building before the next committee meeting. The design for Stiles Hall will be reviewed by the university in May.

Contact Anna Dell’Amico at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @adellamico_dc.