Structure Type: built works - public buildings - schools - university buildings; built works - social and civic buildings - libraries

Designers: Tom Eliot Fisch Architects (firm); Williams Tsien Architects | Partners (firm); Amy Eliot (architect); Bobbie Fisch (interior designer); Douglas Tom (architect); Billie Tsien (architect); Tod Williams (architect)

Dates: constructed 2006-2008

4 stories, total floor area: 69,000 sq. ft.

Library Front Road and University Drive
University of California, Berkeley, Campus, Berkeley, CA 94720

Building History

The architectural firm of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners, collaborated with the San Francisco partnership of Tom Eliot Fisch to produce the design for the C.V. Starr Library on the University of California, Berkeley, (UCB), Campus.

According to the UCB web site for the library: "The new C.V. Starr East Asian Library, which opened its doors in March, 2008, houses more than 900,000 volumes of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean materials, including woodblock prints, rare maps and scrolls, contemporary political posters, and Buddhist scriptures. The new library consolidated the holdings of the Center for Chinese Studies Library (CCSL) and the East Asian Library (EAL) into one collection. The CCSL began as a reading room in the 1960s, and grew to become one of the premiere libraries on post-1949 China in the United States. The holdings included some 100,000 volumes in both Chinese and English, an extensive microfilm collection, a large number of newspapers and journals, and video collections. Its collection included primarily Chinese- and English-language materials, but also contained works in Japanese, German, French and Russian. The EAL housed a comprehensive research collection of materials in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Manchu, Mongolian, and Tibetan." (See University of California, Berkeley, Institute of East Asian Studies, "C.V. Starr East Asian Library," accessed 06/25/2018.)

Building Notes

The Starr Library at UCB achieved LEED Silver equivalence.

It won three awards: an American Institute of Architects-American Library Association, Library Award, 2009; an American Institute of Architects, California Council, (AIACC), Award for Architecture, 2010; an AIA New York Chapter, (AIANY), Architecture Honor Award, 2011.

The architects Williams and Tsien described the solid, four-floor building: "University design guidelines for this area of campus, known as the “classical core,” required a pitched clay tile roof, symmetrical façade and use of white granite. We developed a large screen, an important element of Asian Architecture, as an expression of the building’s Asian identity. This monumental sand-cast bronze screen combines both a traditional cracked ice pattern and contemporary grid. It unifies the exterior and creates the illusion of symmetry from the asymmetrical fenestration. Perforated metal screens behind the bronze grilles prevent direct sunlight from entering the building and minimize cooling loads. The building’s exterior is solid, powerful and mysterious. From the interior, the screens offer a dynamic and filtered view of the surrounding landscape. Constructed of rough concrete and clad in stone from China, the exterior is massive and dense. This sense of solidity is transformed upon entering. Filtered natural light from a linear north facing skylight fills a long, central void that cuts through the building and brings light to the lowest level. Every floor is animated by changing light. A stone stairway cantilevered from a structural spine wall rises through the four floor void. Connected by bridges, stacks on either side of the opening clearly display the books and the building’s organization." (See Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners, "C.V. Starr East Asian Library," accessed 06/25/2018.)

PCAD id: 22146