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Environmental Design Library @ UC Berkeley

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New Library Resource: Material ConneXion

Material ConneXion database contains comprehensive information on over 7,000 new materials for architecture, engineering, and other design disciplines. It is an extensive resource for advanced, innovative, and sustainable materials and includes images, detailed material descriptions, usage characteristics, and manufacturer and distributor contact information for architecture, interiors, product packaging, transportation and more. Be sure to use the advanced search feature to search by sustainability, usage, and physical processes.

Group study room now available

We now offer a group study room available to UC Berkeley students. The room is located near the front entrance of the Library beyond the Scan & Print Room. It seats up to 10 people and includes a 46 inch display monitor. To view usage policies and reserve the room see the Environmental Design Library Group Study Room Reservation Form.

JUNE 2012
The Library now subscribes to COS Funding Opportunities

COS Funding Opportunities: A directory of available funds, grants, fellowships, awards and other types of funding throughout the world. Includes sponsors from the public and private sector; local, state and national governments; and societies and corporations. Try searching on “architecture,” “landscape architecture,” or “city planning” to locate funding opportunities.

Dissertation Abstracts now includes full text for nearly all dissertations since 1997

Dissertations and Theses (Dissertation Abstracts) used to include full text for only University of California dissertations. As of December 15, 2011 the Library has purchased full text content for graduate dissertations from over 1,000 North American and selected European universities making this a phenomenally useful resource.

Winter Break Closure

The Environmental Design Library will close at 5pm on Friday, December 16th and will re-open at 1pm on Monday, January 2nd. For our calendar of hours, please see the Library Hours web page.

Free Screening: Remembering Playland at the Beach

October 20, 2011 at 6:00-8:00p.m., 210 Wurster Hall
The Environmental Design Library will be screening Remembering Playland at the Beach, a full-length documentary about San Francisco's historic 10-acre seaside amusement park, in celebration of the new exhibit Off Hours: Environments for Entertainment. Go back in time to see Laffing Sal, the Fun House, the Carousel, the Big Dipper, the Diving Bell, Dark Mystery, Limbo, Fun-tier Town, and much, much more, all through the eyes of the people who were there. Packed full of historical photos and footage, this film, the first and only documentary ever made about Playland, is a treat for any amusement park fan. Filmmaker Tom Wyrsch will be on hand to answer questions.

Please RSVP by Friday, October 14 to 510-642-5124 or

Simply Map Now Available

Simply Map is a web-based data analysis and mapping application that allows users to create custom thematic maps, tables and reports using demographic, business, and marketing data for the United States. It includes over 70,000 data variables related to demographics, employment, real estate & housing, crime, businesses, consumer spending, and points of interest data from the US Census, historical US Census data (1980, 1990, 2000), and other sources. Learn more.

JULY 2011
David Eifler becomes Interim Head of the Environmental Design Library

Elizabeth Byrne retired as Head of the Environmental Design Library at the end of June, and Librarian David Eifler steps in as Interim Head.

MAY 2011
Head Librarian Elizabeth Byrne Honored with Distinguished Service Award

Elizabeth Byrne, Head of the Environmental Design Library, received the Chancellor’s Distinguished Service Award for 2011. The award was presented to at this year's CED Commencement ceremony.

APRIL 2011
Borrow 100 Library Books

Did you know that undergraduate students can borrow up to 100 library items at a time? This info is listed on the Environmental Design Library website under circulation policies. And, if you've wondered how your library account can get blocked, see the Main Library website's page on billing, blocks, and payments.

MARCH 2011
Spring Recess Hours

Please note that the Environmental Design Library closes the weekends before and after Spring Recess. Spring Recess week also includes a holiday on Friday. Check our hours page for all the exceptions to the regular Spring schedule.

Environmental Design Library Closes at 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 24th

The Environmental Design Library is closing at 4:30 p.m. on February 24th for an exhibit-related event. Check our hours page for all the exceptions to the regular schedule this Spring.

Library Closures Feb. 21st Presidents' Day Holiday

The Environmental Design Library is closed on Monday, February 21st. Check The Library's hours page to find out whether other libraries are open.

Zotero for Managing Citations

Sessions are held in 305 Wurster Hall:

January 26 (Wed.) 9-10am
January 27 (Thurs.) 9-10am
February 11 (Fri.) 12-1pm
February 11 (Fri.) 1-2pm

Citation management software can help organize research results and make writing papers easier by creating properly formatted bibliographies and footnotes. Learn how to install and begin using this easy-to-use Firefox add-in citation manager. Course will cover importing citations, exporting bibliographies, sharing resources for working groups, and using a wide variety of citation styles. No need to register, just come.

ENVI's Wish List

Please consider donating or underwriting these important works for the Environmental Design Library collection:

Learn more about giving to the Library.

ENVI on Facebook

Have you visited the Environmental Design Library Facebook page? We post about events, new library resources, hours updates, and research workshops. Let us know if you have suggestions on making our page more useful or interesting to you.

November Holidays

Please note that the Environmental Design Library will be closed on November 11th, closing at 5 p.m. on November 24th, and closed November 25-27th. Enjoy the holidays!

Zotero for Managing Citations - Oct. 29th & Nov. 3rd

Friday, 29 October, 10-11am, 305 Wurster Hall
Update! A second date has been added on
Wednesday, 3 November, 9-10am, 305 Wurster Hall

Citation management software can help organize research results and make writing papers easier by creating properly formatted bibliographies and footnotes. Learn how to install and begin using this open-source citation manager. This intro to Zotero covers importing citations, exporting bibliographies, sharing resources for working groups, and using a wide variety of citation styles.

Save the Date: Zotero for Managing Citations

Friday, 29 October, 10-11am, 305 Wurster Hall
Citation management software can help organize research results and make writing papers easier by creating properly formatted bibliographies and footnotes. Learn how to install and begin using this open-source citation manager. This intro to Zotero covers importing citations, exporting bibliographies, sharing resources for working groups, and using a wide variety of citation styles.

ENVI Open On Saturdays

Good news! The Environmental Design Library received funding to be open on Saturdays 1-5 p.m. starting 11 September. (Budget cuts previously had caused the Library to reduce hours.)

Edit & Print Workstation in the Library

The Library is testing out a new Edit & Print Workstation, located just opposite the Reference Desk. Users can print directly from a USB thumb/flash drive, and create or edit documents using Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or Picture Manager to save to their USB drive. There is no Internet connection, and there is a 15-minute time limit if others are waiting. Users still need a copy card to print. We welcome your feedback on this new setup!

Welcome Week Library Events

Come by 305 Wurster August 24th 10am-noon and August 25th 9-11am for 15-minute library overviews. Each session is followed by a tour of the Environmental Design Library.

Tuesday, August 24 • 10-12

Wednesday, August 25 • 9-11

You can find more events across campus on the Library events calendar.

The Architect's Newspaper Review of Design on the Edge

Kenneth Caldwell review of Design on the Edge: A Century of Teaching Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, 1903-2003. Click here to read the review.

JUNE 2010
Graduate Services opens a Dissertation Writer's Room

Graduate Division Dean Andrew Szeri and Doe Library's Graduate Services staff are pleased to offer a new space dedicated to doctoral students advanced to candidacy: the Dissertation Writer's Room, opening Monday, June 21, 2010, in 215 Doe.

Located at the rear of Graduate Services at 208 Doe Library, DWR hours will be Monday through Thursday, 9AM-9PM; Friday, 9AM-5PM; and Sunday, 1PM-9PM. As Graduate Services is reserved for the exclusive use of UCB graduate students, faculty, and staff, please remember to bring your UCB ID to show when you enter 208 Doe. Click here to read more about it.

MARCH 2010
New Web Page Featuring ENVI's Exhibits

We've added a new Web page to our site to introduce Environmental Design Library Exhibits. In addition, some of our past exhibits have been digitized and may be viewed at the Environmental Design Archive Exhibits website.

Image Reference Services at the Library

The Visual Resources Center provides image reference services by appointment or during open hours. On Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1pm to 3pm, image reference services are conducted at the Environmental Design Library reference desk.

Image reference is intended to provide the service of helping users find images of the built environment, for study, teaching, or publication. We also advise users on the use and management of images once they are found. This includes digital asset management, image editing and resizing, and use of images in print and digital contexts. Further services include advice on copyright in regards to image use and referrals to other appropriate repositories for visual materials.

Design on the Edge: A Century of Teaching Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, 1903-2003

Design on the Edge book coverEdited by Waverly Lowell, Elizabeth Byrne, and Betsy Frederick-Rothwell, this is an engaging and thoughtful review of the first one hundred years of architectural education at UC Berkeley. The illustrated monograph of approximately 370 pages combines scholarly essays written by faculty about the development, contributions, and future of the program; reflections of faculty and alumni about their experiences here; a timeline/chronology; lists of key people and contributions; a color portfolio of a century of student drawings; and appendices of architecture faculty. It is intended for alumni, students, faculty, architectural historians, and the general public.

JULY 2009
Most Libraries Closed on Saturdays through July 2010

Due to budget cutbacks, most Cal libraries will be closed Saturdays through July 2010. Read more about Saturday library closings. UPDATE! Saturday hours have been restored! Read about the reopenings and new schedules here.

MAY 2009
Flood Pictures and Video

flooded lounge area
Pictured above: The flooded lounge area.

flooded folios section
Pictured above: The flooded folios section.

Pictured above: A few of the books displaced by the flood.

dozens of drying machines lined up in an aisle
Although the collection was saved from the initial danger of flood water, mold growth is also a serious threat. Wet carpet tiles were removed and drying equipment, pictured above, was installed throughout the affected areas.

Link to a video of the standing water in the library after the water flow from the hydrant was stopped. Video credit: Mia Jaeggli.

Renowned Architectural Historian Spiro Kostof Lectures Available Online

photo of poster detail

Spiro Kostof (1936-1991), widely recognized as one of the world's leading architectural historians, taught his last course in the Spring of 1991 in the Architecture Department of UC Berkeley's College of Environmental Design. The 26 lectures of his course "A Historical Survey of Architecture and Urbanism" covering the period from the Florentine Renaissance to the post-modernism of the late 20th century were video recorded and have recently been digitized and made available for public viewing. Kostof's lectures were heralded for situating the architectural monument in a framework of vernacular buildings that imbue it with meaning. He was also known for exposing the relationships between architecture and the people and cultures that built it. Kostof was the author of A History of Architecture: Settings and Rituals (1985), The City Shaped (1991), and The City Assembled (published posthumously in 1992). The 26 80-minute streaming lectures can be found at

This digitization project was the result of the collaboration of Gary Handman and Gisèle Herrmann of the Media Resources Center and Elizabeth Byrne and David Eifler of the Environmental Design Library at UC Berkeley. Original lecture videos were provided courtesy of the Environmental Design Archives.

MAY 2008
Environmental Design Library on Facebook

The Environmental Design Library has created a Facebook page, and we invite your comments on making the page a helpful resource. (May 2008)

Library Acquires Earliest Original American Work on Architecture

Asher Benjamin (1773-1845) wrote the first truly "original" American builders' guide and became one of the most influential architect-writers in America. The Environmental Design Library recently acquired a first edition of what architectural historian Henry-Russell Hitchcock identified as the "earliest original American work on architecture" Asher Benjamin's Country Builder's Assistant: Containing a Collection of New Designs of Carpentry and Architecture Which Will Be Particularly Useful to Country Workmen in General (Greenfield, Mass., Thomas Dickman, printer, 1797, ENVI NA2520 B41 1797 Rare). This extraordinary addition to its rare book collection was purchased through the UCB Library Michael Reese Library Endowment Fund.

photo of book title page photo of book illustration

Since this was a handbook meant for practical use in the field, on the job, few copies remain, and those that have survived show signs of use. Fewer than 15 copies of this edition have been located in libraries.

The son of a rural Connecticut carpenter, Benjamin designed and built several important houses, churches and public buildings in New England. Mostly self-taught, he used British builders' guides and pattern books, the only ones available at the time, but discovered that most of them were unsuited to American building styles and materials, and their plans for huge country houses were not appropriate for rural America. Drawing from the earlier British books, he created a strictly American guide and handbook for rural carpenters. Its clarity and advice also influenced architectural writing for many years.

The Country Builder's Assistant included plates with measured drawings and instructions, identification of terms for various parts of buildings, moldings, columns, etc.

Based on the success of The Country Builder's Assistant, Asher went on to write six additional builders' handbooks, which, along with the first, went through multiple editions each, and had a major influence on building in America.

Material ConneXion Added in Fall 2006

We have access to the Material ConneXion's online database of building materials, processes and specifications selected from a large spectrum of industries which are typically unnoticed or difficult to reach by the design community.

Material Connexion Material Connexion

Material ConneXion is a New York City company that has a library of 1400+ new and innovative materials representing eight categories: polymers, glass, ceramics, carbon-based materials, cement-based materials, metals, natural materials and natural material derivatives. All materials in the database are juried monthly by a panel of specialists and professionals from related and producer industries and technicians from different sources of processes such as weaving technology, metal foaming and co-injection molding.

To access the database you must be at an Environmental Design Library public computer and use this link:
You can search in a variety of categories: project name, application, keyword, or country of origin.
Questions? Please contact Elizabeth Byrne.

BuildingGreen Suite Access Added in April 2006 (UCB Only)

We now have online access to the BuildingGreen Suite of products. These include: EBN (Environmental Building News), articles, reviews and archives, GreenSpec building products directory and Project Case Studies from the High Performance Buildings Database.

Go to the website:
Or, search in OskiCat for title: BuildingGreen and click on the link. You can access this new resource on campus or via the proxy service from off campus.

The Completed Library!

Photos courtesy of John Horton, CED.

Entryway - 210 Wurster Hall
Environmental Design Library Entryway
Stacks from entrance and Catherine Bauer Wurster (on the right)
Environmental Design Library stacks, viewed from the entrance, and Catherine Bauer Wurster statue
The Atrium, reading area and reference
Environmental Design Library -  Atrium, reading area and reference Environmental Design Library - the Atrium, reading area and reference
Current periodicals and the atrium.
Environmental Design Library - current periodicals and the atrium
Pictures of the new Library still under construction
Environmental Design Library Reference Desk and new stacks Environmental Design Library Atrium and reading area
Renderings of the new library.
Environmental Design Library - view of the atrium and reference desk Environmental Design Library - view of reading area and stacks