Where the Educational Units Sleep 

Units 1 and 2 dorms/dining commons

One can easily imagine the pride architect John Carl Wernecke felt after the rectangular high-rise dorms south of the UC campus were built. No doubt he gazed upon his creations, spread his arms wide, and declared, "I shall call them Unit 1 and Unit 2." Yes, fittingly charmless names for charmless buildings erected in a hurry to house a swelling student population during the early '60s.

The units have been hated for decades by student residents and neighbors alike. Nonetheless, when the university began moving forward with its plan to totally redesign and rebuild the so-called Underhill area -- demolishing the old dorms and dining commons in the process -- the landmarks commission put its historic stamp on the structures. The units, the commissioners wrote, were "significant for [their] incorporation of local architectural and landscape traditions." That's odd -- there don't seem to be any other nine-floor monstrosities in the South Campus neighborhood. Commissioner Leslie Emmington, who seems to be on hand for every landmark massacre in town, told the Daily Californian at the time, "It's about as good as anybody offered at the time."

Now Cal is offering four-story housing with a far better design, and unfortunately for Emmington -- but fortunately for everyone else in this particular case -- the university isn't subject to local landmark rules. Werencke's dubious masterpieces, it appears, will kiss the wrecking ball.


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Latest in News

  • Oakland Is Killing Adoptable Dogs

    Volunteers at Oakland Animal Services have uncovered evidence that the city-run shelter is needlessly euthanizing dogs in violation of state law.
    • Oct 15, 2014
  • Bookstores Turn to Internet for Help

    Independent stores are increasingly using web-based crowdfunding campaigns to stay competitive against online goliaths like Amazon.
    • Oct 15, 2014
  • After Hospitals Unite, Labor Divide Deepens

    Since Children's Hospital Oakland became affiliated with UC San Francisco, resident physicians in the East Bay have questioned why they can't get the same support as doctors across the bay.
    • Oct 8, 2014
  • More »

Author Archives

  • Artists, Inc.

    When a family goes corporate, art consumes life.
    • Jan 31, 2007
  • Can Any Mayor Fix Crime?

    Brown took the city's crime problem seriously, and that seemed to work — for a while.
    • Jan 3, 2007
  • More»

Most Popular Stories

Special Reports

Taste, Fall 2014

Everything you need to know about dining in and out in the East Bay.

Fall Arts 2014

Our annual guide to arts and culture.

© 2014 East Bay Express    All Rights Reserved
Powered by Foundation