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Environmental Design Archives: About

Designed to assist researchers who are using the archival collections at the Environmental Design Archives

The Environmental Design Archives is a non-profit, self-supporting research unit housed in the College of Environmental Design at UC Berkeley. One of the largest archival repositories of its kind west of the Mississippi, the EDA holds more than 200 collections that document the work of the San Francisco Bay region’s historically significant architects, landscape architects, planners, and designers. The Archives is committed to collecting, preserving, and providing access to primary records of the designed environment.

The work of many San Francisco Bay region's historically significant architects, landscape architects, planners, and designers are represented in collections of more than 200 individuals and firms. These collections contain drawings, plans, specifications, photographs, audio-tapes, personal papers, business records, furniture, art, models, and artifacts.

The Environmental Design Archives provides access to primary source material for scholarly research, teaching support, curatorial use, preservation, and public service, and actively encourages and promotes the use of its collections.

Summary of Holdings

The Environmental Design Archives holds more than 200 collections documenting the built and landscaped environment. These records span more than a century, 1890-2014, and contain primary source materials such as correspondence, reports, specifications, drawings, photographs, models, and artifacts. Though the archives' primary focus is the San Francisco Bay Area, designers and projects from throughout California, the United States, and the world are found in the collections.

The archives hold the records of California's important early architects of the First Bay Region Style (ca. 1890-1917) including John Galen Howard, Bernard Maybeck, Julia Morgan, and Willis Polk. In conjunction with Southern California architects Charles and Henry Greene, they pioneered styles and forms that reflected the exchange between traditional European styles and existing Western idioms. The Archives’ collections highlight the Second Bay Tradition (1928-1942) originated in the works of William Wurster, Clarence Tantau, and Gardner Dailey. Also well documented is the Third Bay Tradition, which flourished from the mid-1940s through the 1970s, as seen in the designs of Joseph Esherick and EHDD (Esherick, Homsey, Dodge & Davis), WBE (Wurster, Bernardi & Emmons), William Turnbull, and MLTW (Moore, Lyndon, Turnbull &Whitaker) and others. These California designers included a modern aesthetic in their response to the environment, creating forms that received international respect and were widely influential. Post-war modern design is also well represented in the collections of Ernest Born, John Funk, Hans U. Gerson, Henry Hill, Roger Lee, Donald Olsen, and the Eichler homes by Oakland & Imada. Contemporary designers are also well represented through the collections of Simon Martin-Vegue Winkelstein Moris (SMWM), Jim Jennings, and others. 

Equally integral to the Archives are holdings in American and English landscape architecture. This element of the collection originates with the donation of Beatrix Jones Farrand's Reef Point Library which included Farrand's own project records, Gertrude Jekyll's garden designs, and the records of Mary Rutherfurd Jay. The Archives also contains the records of the founders and practitioners of the modern California landscape such as Thomas D. Church, Garrett Eckbo, Douglas Baylis, Robert Royston/RHAA, and Geraldine Knight Scott. The “next generation” of landscape designers such as Richard Vignolo, Casey Kawamoto, Jack Stafford, Theodore Osmundson, and Walter Guthrie are also held by the Archives.

Design Activism is well represented by the collections of Sim Van der Ryn, Karl Linn, and Randy Hester and Marcia McNally. The Alice Carey Records provide a preservation approach to the cultural landscape. The Environmental Design Archives also holds the work and business records of Edith Heath and Heath Ceramics and architectural photographers such as Phillip Fein, Roger Sturtevant, Morley Baer, Phil Palmer, Ernest Braun, Roy Flamm, and Carolyn Caddes.

For a full list of collections see: https://archives.ced.berkeley.edu/collections