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The San Francisco Call, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 1899
On Fair Berkeley's Classic Hills Will Rise the
Plans Replete With Rare Artistic Beauty
A World Lays Tribute at California's Feet
California the golden is nothing if not magnificent. Her mountains, her plains, her soils and her climate are all of a nature that gives inspiration to her humanity, and when a human concept is evolved it, too, must of necessity be on a plane with the general grandeur of the commonwealth.
Of such magnitude is the conception of Mrs. Phebe R. Hearst which brought forth from the best technical minds of the world the detail and ensemble of what purposes to be the grandest and most artistic grouping of subsidiary buildings into one vast institution of learning that the world has ever seen. The story of the contest, which stands without parallel in the history of the world, has been fully set forth in the papers during the past few weeks, but all word painting and pictorial representation of the ideas advanced by world-famed architects fall far short of giving a complete understanding of the magnitude and artistic beauty of the idealization of California's future university.
The Call printed a description and photographic reproduction of the general idea of buildings as represented by the winner of the prize in competition, but owing to the imperfections of a hurried photograph the illustration did but meager justice to the great institution of learning which will soon begin to be reared on Berkeley's classic hills. In limited space it is impossible to do more than show the general idea of the artist who evolved the plans and of necessity all of the exquisite beauty of detail is lost. It is only when the complete grouping of the plans is seen that the mind begins to grasp the full meaning of the competition which Mrs. Hearst inaugurated.
When the international architectural jury decided, after long study, that Monsieur E. Benard had presented the best and most complete plans for an ideal university it was not a judgment based alone upon the totality of the conception, but was also a tribute to the artistic attention to beauty of detail combined with a most practical design in grouping of the various buildings which go to make the grand whole. The various edifices which have been planned are not only designed with the most complete attention to the requirements of the especial study, but the ornamentation is peculiarly adapted to the particular branch of learning for which it is to be home.
The great nave of the ferry depot was thronged last night with the alumni of the university who had been invited to meet Messrs. Pascal, Wallot, Belcher and Cook, the jury which has spent many months in deciding which of the many plans submitted was the one best suited for the requirements. While hundreds saw the plans thousands were unable to attend, and The Call reproduces from photographs by The Call's special photographer some of the most artistic bits of the future institution of learning which will make California world renowned.
[Article accompanied by photographs of several of Benard's architectural drawings. Starting at upper left, with the following captions: Birdseyeview of California's New University; Ground Plan Sectional; Interior of the Grand Dome of the Gymnasium; Front Elevation of the Gymnasium; Sectional View of the Gymnasium; View of the Gymnasium, Showing the Athletic Field with Tribunes in the Background. Credit: Kelly.]
Mrs. Hearst, whose illness prevented her presence, had joined the regents with a special invitation to those who have in the past profited by the university to inspect the designs for the future seat of learning and become acquainted with the men who have made the selection out of the many presented, and it was expected that at this meeting she would make the announcement of her intention to begin the materialization of the scheme which is now in the realms of the ideal.
It has been known for some time that Mrs. Hearst contemplated the erection of one or more buildings for the university, but it is now made public for the first time that this desire on her part was the inception of the idea to have a competition of architects to design a magnificent university. While she wished to erect a building she wanted that building to be in harmony with the future growth of the university. Her selection is to be erected as a memorial to her husband, and as he was a mining man her choice was naturally the mining building. This she will begin the erection of immediately after the acceptance of the plans by the regents, and following closely upon this she will erect another as a reminder of herself. While her selection on this point has not yet been made public, it is understood that it will be the women's building.
It is announced that Mayor James D. Phelan and Miss Jennie Flood will each erect a building, and it is expected that several other of the wealthy alumni of the institution will show their appreciation of the possibilities of the future by assisting in the consummation of the present ideal; and while the magnitude of the conception is startling at first it is among the probabilities that the present generation will see what is now apparently but a dream become a beauteous reality.
The plans will be on exhibition at the ferry depot until next Saturday, when they will be formally submitted to the regents of the university; and should they be accepted, of which there seems no reason to doubt, the progress from idealization to realization of the project will be a mere question of time and inclination of those who are most immediately interested in the future of this great State.
Millions of dollars will be required to bring the matter to a conclusion and years of time will elapse before the magnificent adornment of the Berkeley hills is complete, but from the day that word went over the world that California wanted designs for the most complete institution of learning on the globe, the fame of the State and the munificence of Mrs. Phebe Hearst, who made the idea a possibility, became world wide. The jury of architects have served faithfully and well and their labors have given to California, as much as those of the successful designer, the plans of a university that the world itself will be proud of.
The labors of the jury are over and the members will soon return to their respective homes, undoubtedly carrying with them memories of the broad hospitality of the State which called them together. They have been feasted and feted by a grateful people who have found time amid the rejoicing over returning sons to give honor to those who have done so much for the future of the youth of the commonwealth.
Prior to the reception last evening the gentlemen composing the jury were given a dinner at the Cliff House, and as they listened to the roar of the waves as the surf dashed on the rocks they might well have felt that they had completed the inception of a mental achievement which not all the natural grandeur of the world could enshadow or eclipse.
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