Category Archives: Anthro136kF2015
Davis House faces a number of threats to its continued existence. On a tangible level, there are risks to the structural and aesthetic features of the house. On an intangible level, the house risks losing its historic and cultural contexts, and the lessons that may lie therein.
Maintenance of the structure requires a great deal of money. The house committee and the greater BSC organization have to pay for regular upkeep on all the historic features. Elements like brick and wood erode over time, and need restoration or replacing. Aesthetic features such as carved woodwork require costly specialized labor to restore. More significantly, the house sits almost directly over the Hayward Fault, but has never been retrofitted for earthquake safety. Doing so would cost a great deal of money; similar retrofitting at the university’s Archeological Research Facility cost upwards of $70,000.
To ease this financial burden, Davis House may be able to turn to the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association. This organization advocates for heritage sites around Berkeley, and can be very useful in advocating for the procurement of grants and other financial packages. Similarly the National Trust for Historic Preservation may take an interest in the house because of its advanced age and architectural pedigree. Both groups could be very useful in the establishment of a heritage site at Davis House. Other interested parties may include the Julia Morgan school for Girls in nearby Oakland, as well as California Polytechnic State University, who keep an archive of material related to Julia Morgan.
On an intangible level, what risks being lost is the history and heritage from Davis House’s past incarnations: first as private residence, then as sorority. Even its co-op history may be lost in the constantly revolving cast of residents. Much of our goal in establishing a heritage site is to preserve these histories and aspects of cultural heritage, and indeed our interpretive projects serve this goal directly.
However, we may also turn to local and national groups for added support. The Alpha Xi Delta sorority, although no longer at Berkeley, may have an interest in the histories of their alumnae. The Berkeley Student Cooperative may wish to engage more directly with their past, as well. And as a cooperative living house, Davis House may be of interest to NASCO – the organization that represents cooperative living across North America. Finally, we may look to the alumni community of Davis House, dispersed across the country, who continue to take an active interest in the time they spent calling Davis House home.
History of Davis House
The property now called Davis House was originally commissioned by Richard A. Clark, lawyer for the estate of the wealthy Hearst family. Clark had previously worked with the architect Julia Morgan, designer of some of California’s most famous landmarks from that period, most notably the Hearst Castle at San Simeon.
When construction finished in 1913, the Clark house was in a fairly quiet hillside neighborhood; they were only a few steps from what was then open country in Strawberry Canyon. The house was a luxury dwelling, equipped with electric lighting, indoor plumbing, and three marble fireplaces. These features have remained, as have certain features of the house’s accessibility. Berkeley is a very walkable city, and the house’s construction in 1913 did not account for the expansive popularity of the automobile. As a result, the house is uniquely inaccessible. No entrances are near the street, and the main entryway of the house can only be reached by climbing bancroft steps, far from the street. Morgan built the house to feature a dramatic interplay of natural lighting and shadow, a feature that is still very noticeable today despite the addition of landscaping, particularly in the dining room.
In the next ten years, the neighborhood would radically change with the construction of Memorial Stadium only a few hundred feet from the Clarks’ backdoor. Around this time, the Clark family moved out and the house was purchased by the Omicron chapter of the Alpha Xi Delta sorority. Sorority houses became very popular during the depression as a cheap means of housing women attending school, and became a place of safety for women leaving home for the first time.
Houses like Alpha Xi Delta often had (and still do today) “house mothers,” a matron who would live with the girls and ensure that they behaved morally by curtailing drinking and monitoring activities with the opposite sex. Although our documentation is limited, it is almost certain that Alpha Xi Delta had a “House Mother” fulfilling such a role, as a house of so many young women living unsupervised would have been scandalous. Around sixty young women lived in the house during this time, and the sorority added two large sleeper porches onto Morgan’s original design to house them all. The surrounding houses are still mostly owned by other sororities, fraternities, and some co-ops. In 1930, the imposing International House was built at the bottom of the hill, bringing students from all around the world to what had previously been an all-white neighborhood.
The sorority resided in Davis house until the 1960s when the popularity of sororities and fraternities at UC Berkeley began to decline, and Alpha Xi Delta was forced to close their Berkeley chapter. Meanwhile, the Berkeley Student Cooperative was trying to decide how to make up for a shortage of student housing; each passing year had meant a long waiting list for entry into co-op housing. Over the summer of 1969, the Berkeley Student Cooperative purchased the old Alpha Xi Delta house for $75,000. Richard Clark house was renamed Davis house, purportedly in honor of a local community activist affiliated with the BSC. It was opened formally to junior, senior, and graduate student residents in 1970. Residency was eventually expanded to include lowerclassmen as well, but Davis has earnt a reputation for being clean and quiet. The house has remained a part of the student co-op housing system ever since, with nearby neighbours of Sherman Hall and Castro co-op.
Davis House Cooperative sits at 2833 Bancroft Steps in Berkeley, California. It is a short walk from the University of California’s campus, uphill from the International House and shares a parking lot with Memorial Stadium. In its 102-year history, it has changed little despite its role has changed in the community.
An exterior of brick leads to a second floor of white stucco. A carved wooden trim, painted green, highlights the entire facade. Wrought-iron balustrades sit under the windows and iron lanterns sit by the front door. A gabled roof barely peeks above the neighboring trees and shrubbery; the house is so effectively hidden by its landscaping that it can be difficult to get an impression of the whole building from the outside. Yet the interior reveals a lush reminder of Berkeley’s past: heavy oak doors give way to grand halls with intricately carved wood paneling, mixing natural and classical themes in their scrollwork. Four large fireplaces feature heavy mantelpieces and marble framing. Elaborate neoclassical light fixtures hang from high, vaulted ceilings.
Click here to read more about the history of Davis House
Today, Davis House is a part of the Berkeley Student Cooperative (BSC). This system of cooperative living houses operate on a principle of student self-determination, with the day-to-day operations of co-op houses being implemented and managed by the students who live there. Davis House is therefore managed by a constantly rotating body of residents. The house currently holds 36 residents, and these students are responsible for cooking meals, for cleaning house, and for overseeing the house’s own budget.
Significance of Alcatraz
Alcatraz may appear to be just a large, haunted rock floating off the coast of San Francisco, but it is a historic site of great national interest. This little island is among one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country and is internationally known.
Alcatraz has served various purposes for several different groups throughout its history. First, the island was put to use as a United States military outpost and jail for confederate sympathizers during the Civil War.
Next, the island gained infamy as a America’s highest-security federal penitentiary for some of the nation’s most dangerous convicts. Alcatraz’s prison era has been the subject of prolific media attention since it was opened in 1933; there have been countless newspaper articles, books, television shows, and movies all devoted to telling the story of America’s daunting and mysterious island penitentiary.
Finally, Alcatraz gained prominence as a site of important activism and protest for Native American rights. The Indians of All Tribes’ nineteen month occupation represented an integral part of American culture. Native Americans leveraged the 1960’s era values of free speech and protest to draw attention to the government’s unfair treatment of indigenous peoples, and ultimately helped change the government’s policies towards Native Americans.
Although Alcatraz may only look like a rock near San Francisco to some, its intangible heritage and inherent cultural significance is derived from the role it played in so many different individuals’ lives. Because of the valuable historic and multifaceted roles the island has played throughout its storied history, it is critical that Alcatraz be preserved for future generations.
Currently, tours are held on the island, and visitors can go to and from the island via a ferry from Pier 33. Pier 33 is located near Fisherman’s Wharf, in San Francisco. The ferry system is called Alcatraz Cruises and is owned by Hornblower Cruises and Events. The ferries function all year.
Touring the island requires a lot of walking. The Alcatraz dock area, prison building main floor, all bookstores, museum displays, and theater are all wheelchair accessible. Also, certain visitors can use the SEAT program (Sustainable Easy Access Transport), which consists of small cars that can drive visitors with limited mobility around the island. However, further work can be done to improve the accessibility of the island. Some smaller ferries could be used to give tours around the exterior of the island.
Also, the proposed multi-sensory virtual tour booths, as outlined in the Interpretive Plans section, would help increase accessibility of the island for individuals with limited mobility who wish to see more of the island than SEAT provides. Because it is multi-sensory, it will also help visitors who are hearing impaired, since they can increase the volume to meet their needs. Also, for visually impaired visitors, listening to the audio tour along with the smells that are released at each location will enhance the accessibility of the historic material for them.
Engaging New Communities
In order to remain a popular and relevant cultural heritage site, it is important that the National Park Service expands its current tour operations and appeal to a wider audience of potential visitors. This would also encourage those who have already visited the island to return in the future. The proposals included in this project, accessible in the Interpretive Plans section, will help the National Park Service to reach out to San Francisco Bay Area residents, repeat visitors, children, Native Americans, and Internet “visitors”. By reaching out to various audiences, the National Park Service can ensure that each different group will have the opportunity to learn about Alcatraz Island as a unique, multi-faceted cultural heritage site.
Our interpretive plans’ inclusions of new digital technologies, such as the integration of virtual reality technology, will appeal to the San Francisco Bay Area’s significant population of young people involved in the production of technology. The National Park Service could use the introduction of these new, high-technology plans as a way of reaching out to San Francisco Bay Area residents, many of whom would be intrigued by the new digital components of Alcatraz’s tour offerings. Thus, these new interpretive plans would allow the National Park Service to appeal to individuals living in close proximity to Alcatraz, encourage those who have never visited the island to visit, and freshly excite previous visitors.
Additionally, our comprehensive proposals will allow for Native American visitors, including but not limited to those who are aware of and connected to the Indians of All Tribes group, to experience Alcatraz as an important Native American heritage site. The National Park Service currently offers little information on the island’s important history as the site of a Native American occupation. Certain proposals, such as the multi-sensory virtual tour booth and the smartphone application, will provide more information about the Native American occupancy for visitors. This is done in hopes that making this information more available will attract Native American populations and those interested in their history to visit Alcatraz.
Finally, certain aspects of our proposal could be adapted to allow for Internet visitors to take virtual tours of Alcatraz. While some aspects of the proposed plans, such as the olfactory components featured in the multi-sensory virtual tour booths, could not be adapted for Internet visitors, other aspects of the proposed plans could be suitable for online distribution. For instance, virtual visitors could pay to access the smartphone application and disable their phone’s GPS capabilities in order to take a photo tour of the gardens and wildlife. This would be done without the location specific story map, but with all of the application’s included information. Additionally, the holographic tours of Alcatraz could be filmed and uploaded to an online database, accessible to virtual visitors for a fee to watch the online tour of the storied former penitentiary.
Short Term Management Plan (5-years)
Within the next five years there will be a push to get the community involved. Reaching out to the school system will help get younger generations involved in learning about the significance of the bulb. The goal is to capture the interest of children without taking them to the bulb while it is still unsafe due to trash and hazardous materials, and to have them learn about their community’s unspoken history.
It is also necessary to start the planning and funding for the construction of a new community building on the site. The building will be used by park rangers, members involved with the bulb field trips, and also will be used as a visitor site. The theme of recycling will be incorporated into the new building to emphasize what makes the Albany Bulb so unique. The building will also have a natural water tower, solar panels, and an outdoor sculpture garden on the roof to display whatever art is salvaged from the bulb.
Long term management plan (25-years)
The following section explores climate projections and suggests based on the evidence how the site could possibly change in the next century. A 2012 report from the California Energy Commission’s California Climate Change Center (CECCCCC), reveals that both temperature and climate changes due to greenhouse gasses and global warming will affect a majority of the bay area’s coastal sites. The two that directly affect the future of the Bulb are temperature increases and rising sea levels.
All of the statistics reveal that within the next 25 the Bulb will begin to deteriorate from these environmental conditions, raising the question of what can be done now and in the future to preserve this landscape? A proposed solution to these climate changes can be found in the ANBTIP plan which includes the creation of revetment walls. This is an extremely large cost but one that the city is willing to undertake.
Implementation of Heritage in the Future
In addition to continuing to use the site as an educational tool about social issues there will still be the possibility of using the space as a place for art to be present and practiced. The city of Albany in their proposals has already suggested a willingness to discuss the topic of a performative space. The best example of this would be to look at the Weplayers Theatre Company. In 2006, they presented their rendition of the Tempest at the Albany Bulb. For more photos of the We Players rendition of The Tempest at the bulb, please visit: http://www.weplayers.org/portfolio/tempest
Preserving the site means preserving the memory of what the Bulb once was and what it will continue to be in the future. In the next twenty-five years, we would suggest that the city sets aside the funds for an anthropological study and publication of the Bulb. This would encompass the history of the homeless and the transition into a vacant park used by dog owners and community members, eventually ending with the current state of the bulb.
Significance of the Albany Bulb
A dump is a place where waste resides and where unwanted things go die. It is virtually forgotten by the people who deposit materials and is only remembered when an individual must again go to the dump to dispose of additional objects. The question to ask in the context of the Albany Bulb project is when does a dump lose stigma and gain the status of a site representing sociocultural value (Mason)? In the case of the Albany Bulb, this shift began to take place when formerly homeless people began to take up residence there.
This documentary was directed by Tomas McCabe and Andrei Rozen
Some might wonder how it is that a landfill dump can have value. Therein lies the uniqueness of the Albany Bulb, and why it holds so much value to the people of the community and the former residents. First and foremost, the bulb is valuable because of its history. Many people place value on a site or area simply because it has been around for a long time (Mason 11). Since the creation of the neck of the bulb began in the 1940’s with the construction of Golden Gate Fields, it qualifies as a historical place (more than 50 years old), which makes it of value. Historical value is just one of the sociocultural values attached to the Albany Bulb.
Social value is one of the most important aspects concerning the bulb and the future preservation of tangible and intangible heritage surrounding this place. Randall Mason defines social value as “place attachment…social cohesion, community identity, or other feelings of affiliation that social groups (whether very small and local, or national in scale) derive from the specific heritage and environment characteristics of their ‘home’ territory.” To the former residents of the bulb, place attachment is everything. They literally built their homes on this land and lived there for decades. One can still see brick flooring, sectioned off gardens, and artifacts that remain in the places where the former bulb residents built their homes. The emotional and physical attachment that the residents felt is what makes the bulb so valuable to them and to the community members who support their right to the land.
The Albany Bulb is free to visit and needs little development to fulfill its value as a heritage place. However, the site needs to be made accessible to the people who originally used the area, as well as the park visitors and dogwalking community. In order to achieve this, the management policies need to be changed. The primary problem with the management of the site is that is was not managed at all for many years. The biggest issue would be to have a consistent management plan and implementation from the state. That being said, the state and city need to work together with the former residents, community, and other stakeholders in order to create management policies that not only reflect the values of the various stakeholders, but also respect their right to the bulb as a heritage place.
Implementation plan: The Gentrification and Rental Rights
This Interpretative plan demonstrates the theme of gentrification and rental rights through the hologram system on the street along the I-Hotel. The most recent gentrification happened during the urban renewal planning and redevelopment movement of the mid 1960s, when the I-hotel was targeted for demolition. Now, the spread of urban renewal plan in San Francisco’s Financial District turned to the I-Hotel continues a long chain of displacement for residents of low-cost residential housing.
This project, “I-Hotelogram,” will be effective to put public pressure on a landlord who is doing an Ellis Act eviction. According to San Francisco Tenants Union, under the Ellis Act, landlords may evict all tenants in a building in order to take the building off the rental market by the unconditional right. Residents in San Francisco are faced with Ellis Act nowadays along the same line with residents in I-hotel were before. Unless the law requires the landlord to socially redeem themselves, the mass media or neighbors can make arguments to support the tenant’s side. We can set up visual, audio and movement senses through this hologram.
Short-term plan (5 years):
I-Hotelogram, which is setting up the hologram of interviews from people who got evicted by landlords, state law, and governments could engage residents in the I-hotel including residents in San Francisco and California. It would be installed of the once sprawling 10-block Manilatown and the effects urban renewal had that led to its demise. The short term action plan of the I-Hotellogram could encourage tourists to come to see special hologram. It could arouse tourists and visitors attention about the dangers of eviction fights related to living. In addition, the epidemic of evictions is connected to activism because it is one of the actions made by activists. Audiences could remember the lessons of elders in I-Hotel and sympathize with the expelled tenants for a while because of this audio, visual and hearing senses.
Long term-plan (25 years):
To contribute the Interpretive project to sustainability, we have to cooperate with smartphone application in order to increase accessibility. Since this interpretive project with hologram on the street, it might be hard to access if there are many people on the street or be crowded by other noises. Moreover, it is impossible to give an information to people who want to help I-hotel and San Francisco eviction but who are far away. Therefore, through smartphone application called “I-Hotelogram,” visitors as well as residents and landlords can access to the hologram and interviews about evictions. When they access to the hologram, they can feel that they are accessing to people who were evicted and how much the state law is harsh for them. Also in the long term, this project could empower and authorize immigrants, since when immigrants immigrated, they need a place to leave. For Filipinos, I-Hotel is the place of them.