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University of California Berkeley

Landscape Heritage Plan 

Getty Foundation Campus Heritage Grant ~ 2004 

Vonn Marie May, Team Member, Co-Author, Researcher in conjunction with Sasaki + Associates, Prof. Noel D. Vernon


"In respect of soil, exposure, natural foliage and water supply, your ground is, to say the least,       unsurpassed in the vicinity of San Francisco."                   Frederick Law Olmsted, Berkeley, 1866  



With a generous grant from the Getty Foundation the University was able to undertake a comprehensive analysis of the campus landscape history from its 1865 origins through a Beaux Arts Classical period and well into Mid Century Modernism. Like an ancient manuscript over written several times the Plan's findings revealed layers of design intent reflective of the successive times. 


Research revealed a century and a half of cultural landscape history, which spanned the federal land grant Agricultural Experimental Station and UC Botanical Garden eras, and the establishment of the first landscape architectural department on the west coast. Three successive design styles were identified; the Picturesque, the Beaux Arts, and the Modern.


The work utilized the accepted professional standards developed by the National Park Service, The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Cultural Landscapes, and historical significance criteria developed by the National Register of Historic Places.  Applying these criteria facilitated the process of unraveling the layered Classical Core through the identification of character-defining features that remain from each period. 




Left Top: Mining Circle Study. Architect John Galen Howard pencil drawing, 1902

Left Middle: Mining Circle Building complete, 1904

Left Bottom: UCB Landscape Heritage Plan restoration of the Mining Circle, 2004


© 2018 Vonn Marie May

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