AKA: United Artists Berkeley 7, Berkeley, CA

Structure Type: built works - performing arts structures - theatres

Designers: Balch, Clifford A. Architect (firm); Walker and Eisen, Architects (firm); Clifford A. Balch (architect); John E. Costello (civil engineer); Percy Augustus Eisen (architect); Albert Raymond Walker (architect)

Dates: constructed 1931-1932

2274 Shattuck Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94704

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Building History

Clifford Balch (1880-1963) and Walker and Eisen designed this theatre that seated 1,800 when opened. In 1931, John E. Costello served as the head of a joint Balch-Walker and Eisen office in San Francisco, CA, charged with the construction of new United Artists Theatres in Palo Alto, Berkeley, San Jose, Vallejo, Richmond, Oakland and San Francisco. (See"Open San Francisco Office,"Architect and Engineer, 1931, p. 84.)

Building Notes

The United Artists Theatre in Berkeley opened on 09/16/1932, an unfortunate opening date, as 2,489 banks had failed during the period 11/1930-07/1932. This long string of bank failures prompted President Roosevelt to declare a week-long bank holiday between 03/06-10/1933. (See "Banking Panics in the US: 1873-1933,"Accessed 10/18/2013.) The economy was in a shambles, and even though people went to the movies to escape the gloomy economic news, receipts for many movie theatres lagged as moviegoers lacked disposable income.


This single auditorium theatre was later sub-divided into seven separate screening rooms.

PCAD id: 18758