‘Tends to stick out’: Evans Hall to be demolished, replaced

photo of Evans Hall
Ganesh Pimpale/Staff
Campus plans to demolish and replace Evans Hall with a building that will house advising services for the College of Letters and Science as well as classrooms, with construction to begin no earlier than late 2023.

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Amid ongoing seismic renovations at Moffitt Library, another iconic UC Berkeley building will face drastic changes as part of campus’s “Master Plan” — Evans Hall.

The looming, 12-floor building will be demolished to create more open space in the stretch between Moffitt Library and Hearst Memorial Mining Building, according to ASUC Academic Affairs Vice President James Weichert. The offices and programs currently housed in Evans Hall will be redistributed among other planned campus buildings.

“There are seismically unsafe buildings on campus, and currently there is a lot of money available for seismic renovation,” Weichert said. “Evans is a much larger project, and it can’t be renovated. It must be demolished entirely.”

Construction on the planned Academic Replacement Building, which will house advising offices for the College of Letters and Science as well as multiple general assignment classrooms, is anticipated to begin no earlier than late 2023 and be completed in two years.

The Gateway, another planned building, will open in 2025. As the building will be a hub for data science and artificial intelligence research, it will house related programs and faculty currently located in Evans Hall.

According to campus’s Capital Strategies website, in addition to receiving multiple poor reviews, Evans Hall has aged building systems, deferred maintenance and inefficient classrooms, spurring the need for a replacement.

The building will be built on the Dwinelle parking lot, as specified by campus’s 2021 Long Range Development Plan, and the site will experience brief closures for soil sample testing.

“Original home of much of the computer infrastructure on campus, (Evans Hall) gets poor reviews because of its dark, closed-in design, its massive scale, and its unfortunate location spoiling the main east-west axis of the campus and what was intended to be a spectacular view out to the Golden Gate,” the website reads.

Weichert stressed that the current site of Evans Hall will not be replaced by a similar high-rise building, and will instead be repurposed for green space. With the exception of Evans Hall, which Weichert said “tends to stick out,” the existing buildings around Memorial Glade have similar architecture and comprise campus’s “classical core.”

As campus continues to develop the demolition and reallocation of resources in Evans Hall, students and faculty will be able to engage in the process through an open house in mid-2022.

While campus has not received preliminary concept designs yet, the project team’s main focus prior to building the Academic Replacement Building, which will eventually be named, will be finding ways to minimize disruption to surrounding buildings.

“As the project moves forward, a permanent name that celebrates the best of what Berkeley is and aspires to be will be selected in consultation with our campus community and supporters,” the website reads.

Contact Aditya Katewa at [email protected], and follow him on Twitter at @adkatewa1.