Undergraduate Academic Building
Summary of current and upcoming construction activities at the Undergraduate Academic Building project site:
Please note that the construction schedule is subject to change and may be influenced by various factors, such as the weather.
The Dwinelle Parking Lot closed on November 1, 2024, for the construction of the Undergraduate Academic Building. Please see the UC Berkeley Parking & Transportation website for information about alternative parking areas. For questions, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The development of the Undergraduate Academic Building will create a new hub for undergraduate instruction in the center of the UC Berkeley campus. The building will replace a surface parking lot to the west of Dwinelle Hall in line with the 2022 Campus Master Plan's vision. It will serve as a centralized home for Letters & Science Advising, offering meeting rooms, office space, and collaboration areas. Moreover, the Undergraduate Academic Building will house more than 10 percent of the general assignment classrooms on the campus when completed. This new building will transform and enhance the undergraduate learning experience at UC Berkeley and foster academic excellence.
The building's design has been thoughtfully planned to seamlessly blend in with the natural surroundings. The Undergraduate Academic Building is an L-shaped structure with a five-story wing along Campanile Way and a three-story wing facing Dwinelle Hall. A wide esplanade, adorned with shade trees and bicycle parking, will separate it from Dwinelle Hall. At the intersection of the two wings, you'll find a brand new 400-seat auditorium that's partially below ground and has a beautifully landscaped rooftop terrace that looks out over Strawberry Creek. The first three floors of both wings will be dedicated to academic instruction. There will be 27 new classrooms of varying sizes, from small to large, with flexible seating arrangements to support various instructional styles. Modern instructional technologies will be incorporated into the classrooms, and large windows will provide plenty of natural light and ventilation.
All levels of the Undergraduate Academic Building can be easily accessed through the main elevator core, external stairs, and circulation corridors. The main entrance to the building is located on its west side and faces Grinelle Glade and Strawberry Creek. A spacious outdoor plaza will welcome students as they enter the building, and the plaza will be designed to accommodate the high volume of students during class change times. The entrance plaza and pathways will be beautifully landscaped, and the project will also enhance the landscape along Campanile Way.
The Undergraduate Academic Building's design is focused on sustainability and resilience. One of the most exciting aspects of the building's structural system is the use of mass timber construction. This novel building technology has never been used on the Berkeley campus before, making it a groundbreaking addition to the university's infrastructure. The use of mass timber not only supports sustainable design practices but also provides a unique aesthetic that sets the building apart from traditional steel or concrete structures.
Make-ready projects to improve the utilities in the project area will commence in the summer of 2023 and continue into the fall semester.
The Undergraduate Academic Building is scheduled to begin construction in November 2023, at which time the parking lot will close. The projected completion time for the construction is two years, and the building is expected to open in early 2026.
Undergraduate Academic Building - Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why was the Dwinelle Parking Lot selected as the building site?
A: The Dwinelle Parking Lot was identified as a future site for a new academic building in UC Berkeley's Long Range Development Plan and Campus Master Plan. The site was deemed appropriate for this particular project's size, scope, and budget. The Capital Planning Committee, which is chaired by the EVCP and consists of faculty and administrative representatives, endorsed the site for this project in 2021, and the Chancellor concurred with their recommendation.
Q: When and where will people who park in this lot be redirected?
A: The parking lot will remain open until construction of the Undergraduate Academic Building begins in late-2023. Parking & Transportation will work on a parking plan to relocate affected permit holders to alternative nearby parking locations when construction begins. Additionally, planning work is underway for a new parking structure on Bancroft Way that will replace parking spaces lost for this project.
Q: How was the Undergraduate Academic Building named?
A: In the spring semester of 2023, a committee led by the Vice Provost for Academic Planning, in close consultation with members of the Academic Senate, chose the name Undergraduate Academic Building. Prior to settling on this name, the project had gone through several working names during its concept and planning/design phases, including the Evans Hall Replacement Building and the Academic (Seismic) Replacement Building.
Q: How was the building's space program determined?
A: Over the summer of 2021, a Building Steering Committee was formed to determine the best plan for the Undergraduate Academic Building. The committee was led by the Vice Provost for Academic Planning and included faculty representation from academic units, the Registrar's office, campus-wide academic leadership, and campus administration. Their goal was to establish an efficient and appropriate space program for the new building while staying within the allocated budget.
Q: Why are general assignment classrooms and Letters & Science Advising functions in Evans Hall being relocated?
A: Evans Hall, the largest and most active student-serving building on our campus, is in need of seismic improvement. The building houses approximately 12 percent of campus general assignment classrooms and several large academic departments. Analysis has shown that replacing Evans Hall is more cost-effective than retrofitting the existing building. Moreover, Evans Hall has deferred maintenance, inefficient and overcrowded classrooms, spaces that are not sized or configured to meet present program requirements, and aged building systems that have exceeded their intended lifespans. The new Undergraduate Academic Building will replace all general assignment classrooms in Evans Hall. It will also serve as the new location for College of Letters & Sciences advising functions that are presently housed in Evans Hall. In the coming years all other remaining programs in Evans Hall will be relocated. Eventually, the campus plans to replace Evans Hall with a new academic building as envisioned in the 2021 Campus Master Plan.
Q: How will the project communicate with adjacent buildings to help minimize the construction impacts?
Construction projects can often cause disruptions to adjacent buildings, and the team working on the new Undergraduate Academic Building at UC Berkeley is taking steps to minimize such disruptions. The team will continue to work closely with managers from adjacent buildings leading up to the start of construction to create a mitigation plan that aims to reduce negative impact caused by the construction process.
During construction, regular ongoing meetings will be held between the project team and building managers of surrounding buildings. These meetings will serve as a platform to review a 2-3 week construction outlook schedule, discuss any concerns about construction activities, and address any issues that may arise. Building occupants who have questions or concerns about the project should reach out to their building managers, who will then bring them to the project team at these meetings.
To ensure that all stakeholders are well informed, the project team will provide building managers with regularly updated schedules to share with their occupants. Additionally, the schedule updates will be posted on the project page on the UC Berkeley Capital Strategies website. To further facilitate communication with the wider campus, contact information for project questions and concerns will be available on signs around the project site.
Before construction begins, the project team is already in communication with building managers to share construction diagrams and schedule forecasts for the overall project. This allows building managers to work with their occupants to mitigate the impact of future construction activities. Building managers are encouraged to relocate offices and conference rooms to the extent possible within the building, schedule classes and activities in other buildings, adjust schedules to avoid peak construction hours, and promote remote work opportunities.
The project team working on the new Undergraduate Academic Building is committed to maintaining open and transparent communication with adjacent buildings throughout the construction process. By working closely with building managers and actively seeking feedback and concerns from occupants, the team hopes to minimize any disruptions and ensure a smooth construction process.