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Timeline of the Hearst Architectural Competition

In 1898 and 1899, an ambitious international competition was held to determine a master plan for the buildings and setting of the University of California, Berkeley. Formerly an undistinguished land grant college, its campus had grown in a piecemeal and haphazard fashion over the previous thirty years. The competition was the idea of a recently hired instructor of mechanical drawing, the architect Bernard Maybeck. The generous patron who made the whole project possible was the mining and real estate heiress Phoebe Apperson Hearst, who would become the university´s greatest early benefactor. The campaign proved to be one of the milestones of the turn-of-the-century City Beautiful movement.

Buildings designed by John Galen Howard are identified in boldface.

April 16, 1860. College of California dedicates Berkeley campus site at Founder’s Rock.

1865. Frederick Law Olmsted completes his plan for the College’s proposed Berkeley campus, emphasizing an open space axis oriented towards the Golden Gate.

1873. The University of California moves from its temporary Oakland home (inherited from the College of California) to the Berkeley site. William Hammond Hall prepares a plan for the Berkeley campus. First permanent building (South Hall) completed.

1870s, 80s, 90s. A series of permanent and temporary buildings are constructed at Berkeley, designed by a number of architects in various styles and somewhat haphazardly sited around the campus grounds.

1894-95. Newly appointed UC Regent Jacob Reinstein and drawing instructor Bernard Maybeck begin to discuss ideas for improving the Berkeley campus.

1895. Phoebe Hearst offers to construct for the University a mining building as a memorial to her deceased husband, Senator George Hearst. Maybeck produces a sketch of a possible building, but suggests a plan is needed first to decide where it should be built on the campus.

1896. April, Regent Reinstein formally proposes a competition to produce a new plan to guide the physical development of the campus. October, Phoebe Hearst offers to fund the proposed competition, which becomes known as the Hearst International Architectural Competition. 

1896-97. Reinstein and Maybeck promote the Competition across the country and around the world, distributing hundreds of copies of the prospectus. 

July 1, 1898. The deadline for entries for the Competition. More than 100 submissions are received and judged at Antwerp, Belgium, by a jury of distinguished architects. Eleven finalists are selected and commissioned to produce more detailed studies of their plans.

August-September, 1899. Revised entries are received and displayed in San Francisco’s recently completed Ferry Building. Phoebe Hearst presides over receptions and events, and thousands of local residents view the plans. The second round of judging takes place. A plan submitted by French architect Emile Bérnard is selected as the winner. Like most of the entries, Bernard’s plan reflects then-popular Ecole de Beaux Arts views towards site planning and architecture. John Galen Howard’s entry receives fourth place.

October, 1899. Benjamin Ide Wheeler arrives to become the University of California’s new President. He will become the guiding administrative force behind the funding and implementation of the Hearst Plan and growth of the University.

1900. May 12. Phoebe Hearst turns the symbolic first shovelful of earth to break ground for the President’s Mansion (designed by San Francisco architect Albert Pissis), now University House, the first campus building to be constructed according to the Hearst Plan. December 14. The Regents adopt Bernard’s revised plan, but difficulties and differences between Benard, Hearst, and University officials have already made his separation from the project inevitable. An architect to implement the Plan is being sought; attention focuses on John Galen Howard.

1901. Phoebe Hearst selects Howard to design the Hearst Memorial Mining Building. December 21. Howard is formally appointed Supervising Architect for the University, a post he will hold until 1924.

1902. Construction begins on the Hearst Memorial Mining Building (completed in 1907).

Construction begins on the Hearst Greek Theater (completed in 1903)

1903. Construction begins on California Hall (completion in 1905). By this point Howard has reshaped the Benard design into a revised plan of his own, returning the orientation of the central axis towards the Golden Gate, as Olmsted envisioned it. The Department of Architecture is founded under Howard’s leadership. It will become a School of Architecture in 1913. He will remain its head until 1927.

1904. Construction begins on the University Power House, to provide centralized power and heat for the growing campus.

1905. Construction begins on Golden Bear Lodge (now Senior Hall).

1906. Construction begins on Northgate Hall for Department of Architecture (to be expanded several times over the years). April. San Francisco Earthquake shakes Berkeley, delays construction, but does not cause major physical damage on the campus.

1907-11. First stages of Doe Memorial Library constructed. Expanded in 1914-18.

1908. Howard prepares a revision of the Hearst Plan.

1908-10. Sather Gate constructed.

1908-11. Boalt Hall (now Durant Hall) constructed.

1910-12. Agriculture Hall (now Wellman Hall) constructed.

1913-14. Sather Tower constructed.

1913-14Drawing Building (now Naval Architecture Building) constructed.

1914. Howard produces another revision of the Hearst Plan.

1915-17. Wheeler Hall constructed.

1916-17. Hilgard Hall constructed. This is Howard’s first permanent campus building in which less expensive concrete is planned and used for the exterior instead of granite.

1917. Gilman Hall constructed.

1919. Phoebe Hearst dies and Benjamin Ide Wheeler retires as UC President, bringing to an end their two decades of collaboration with Howard, in shaping the physical character of the University.

1920. Military Science Building (now Dwinelle Annex) constructed.

1922. The wooden Hearst Hall, used as the women’s gymnasium, burns. William Randolph Hearst offers to pay for a replacement, and specifies Bernard Maybeck as the architect. This will be the first permanent building on campus designed by an architect other than Howard since Howard became Supervising Architect, undermining Howard’s control.

1922-23. California Memorial Stadium constructed. Howard does the design, although he has advised against the location.

1923. Stephens Memorial Hall constructed, Berkeley’s first complete student union building

LeConte Hall constructed. Berkeley Fire destroys much of North Berkeley but spares the campus.

1924. Haviland Hall completed. Hesse Hall (first unit) completed. November 22. The Regents cancel John Galen Howard’s contract as Supervising Architect. 

1931. John Galen Howard dies.



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The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.
Last updated 09/07/03.