Wurstershire Sauce-UC Berkeley-Landscape and Architecture Graduate Student Team

A collaboration of students from UC Berkeley’s Landscape and architectural departments were brought together to redesign the Wurster Hall Courtyard.  This introduction of this public peace introduces a playful seating area for social gatherings at varying levels.  The design allows the individual to play and interact without any boundaries, and who doesn’t enjoy kicking it outside on a studio break in the west coast sun.

SCHOOL:  University of California Berkeley
STUDENTS:  Brian Gillett, Chris DeHenzel, Rockne Hanish, Jeremy Fisher, William Smith, Marisha Farnsworth, Molly Mehaffy, Henry Richardson, Chris Lesnett, Robert Glass, Alexis Steiner, Anuar Azahari, Alyssa Machle
LOCATION: Wurster Hall Landscape Courtyard
YEAR: 2011

In the Spring of 2010 a team of Landscape and Architecture graduate students from the University of California, Berkeley led a design build seminar to rethink a little known courtyard on the northeast corner of Wurster Hall.


 Originally used as an outdoor classroom, plant demonstration area, work space, and location for the CED happy hour, the objective of the project was to make a “bench” to accommodate and enhance these diverse activities.


With resources from the Beatriz Farrand Foundation the team of graduate students designed and built a folding wooden bench to serve as outdoor classroom, performance platform, and social space. The concept splits, folds, and stretches a conventional idea of bench to respond to human scale and formally responds to the variable positions in which one might sit.

The resulting form creates differences out of this variability, while a repetition of human scale (and material) modules suggest continuity and resourcefulness. The construction method borrows from details of existing attachments to Wurster Hall, and creates a new habitat for an existing olive vine.

To serve as foundations, six concrete stem walls anchor in place a series of sandwiched welded angle steel profiles acting as the main structure. The steel holds sustainably harvested redwood members to form the surface while still revealing the structure underneath. At it’s western edge the bench surface folds back up encompassing an existing planter and providing counter level space on one side or seating on the other.


All text and Images via Archdaily and the Courtesy of UC Berkeley Landscape and Architecture Graduate Student Team

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