September 22, 2002, gala event celebrating the reopening of
Hearst Memorial Mining Building attracted nearly 1,000 guests
and featured remarks by College, campus and state luminaries,
lab demonstrations, and a rousing performance by the Cal Band.
PEG SKORPINSKI PHOTO
Hearst Mining Building
opens a new chapter in history
Hearst Memorial Mining Building officially reopened last fall,
following a sweeping four-year renovation, restoration, and retrofit
project that ushers the 1907 architectural landmark into a new
era of high-tech engineering, nanoscience, and interdisciplinary
The building is rich in architectural detail and steeped in the
history of California, the campus and the College. From its magnificent
front doors, through the vaulted skylights of the entryway, to
the Douglas fir window frames, its original features have been
painstakingly restored and protected against the inevitability
of a major quake on the nearby Hayward fault.
Mining was at its peak in 1907, and Hearst Memorial Mining
Building was designed to be the largest and finest facility
in the world devoted to mining education. The architect
was John Galen Howard, and the benefactor was Phoebe Apperson
Hearst, who dedicated the building to the memory of her
husband George Hearst, a U.S. Senator and prosperous miner.
She is barely visible in this photo of the August 23 opening,
nearly a century ago, black parasol in hand.
PHOTO COURTESY OF UC ARCHIVIST, BANCROFT LIBRARY
In the process, the 19th century relic has been transformed
into a 21st century marvel, providing an entirely updated infrastructure
and new classrooms and labs for the most advanced materials science
and nanoengineering research.
The pristine labs are equipped with precise light and temperature
controls, mechanically stable space frames, and speedy power connections.
These features will facilitate engineering advanced materials
for everything from golf clubs to semiconductors, airplane parts,
and artificial joints.
The Department of Materials Science and Engineering, which relocated
to Evans Hall during construction, will return to Hearst Mining
this May. New tenants will include components of the Center for
Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS),
the intercampus initiative launched by Gov. Gray Davis to apply
information technology solutions to pressing societal concerns
such as energy supply, the environment, and homeland security.
The retrofit involved base isolation technology, pioneered by
Berkeley engineers 20 years ago, replacing the building’s
brittle foundation with a shock-absorbent system of 134 composite
steel and rubber bearings that allow the building to roll horizontally
28 inches in any direction.
Inside the front entrance of the four-story, 135,000-square-foot,
60-million-pound building, the exquisite Memorial Gallery features
skylights and arches decorated with Guastavino tiles. Each pane
of glass was inventoried and repaired or restored, and individual
tiles were reinforced with pins for seismic security.
The $90.6 million project was funded by state, individual, and
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