David Blackwell Hall, the first new residence hall to open at UC Berkeley since 2012, is a living space for more than 700 students full of patios, study rooms, bike racks, ping-pong tables, exercise machines and — if you’re lucky enough to live on the west side of the building — million-dollar views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco skyline.
Construction started 18 months ago, and building will be open for freshman move-in on August 14. The new residence hall is named for David Blackwell, the first black professor to receive tenure at UC Berkeley and a preeminent statistician who died in 2010.
Berkeley News was among the first visitors to the new building, which is in the final stages on construction. We took pictures and captured 360-degree images to let students, staff, faculty and alumni explore the building for themselves.
Each student room will have two beds along one wall, with private cubbies for a desk and two closets on the opposite side. A mini-fridge and microwave will sit in a space between the beds.
Here’s a 360-degree view of an almost-done double room. The rooms were designed to give students a sense of personal space and privacy.
Each of the eight floors also has common spaces for studying and socializing. The study rooms have flat-screen televisions for presentations or movie nights, private conference rooms for group projects and acoustic paneling to keep distractions down.
There’s also plenty of room for hanging out. Each floor has two communal social rooms with ping-pong or pool tables. Here’s an example of one of the social spaces.
Blackwell Hall is a LEED Gold building, and was designed to conserve water and power. Lighting systems in common areas will use technology to automatically dim when no one is nearby, and a rain-catching system — shown below — will stop rain water from overwhelming Berkeley’s sewer system.
Each floor has three resident advisers who get to sleep in single rooms, six gender-neutral bathrooms and three washers and three dryers. The time to wash and dry clothes can be reserved online.
Blackwell Hall also has community spaces on the first floor, including a gym. The first floor houses Stiles Hall, a campus community service center, and two retail locations that could be leased to restaurant or cafe owners.
And there’s a big living-room space for residents that opens ont an interior patio.
The walls are decorated with art, including old vinyl records.
Some of the bedrooms and study rooms have amazing views of San Francisco Bay.
There’s also plenty of secure bike parking for students.
With move-in day looming, work crews are putting the finishing touches on the building, including installing hundreds of mini-fridges and microwaves.
Rosemarie Rae, UC Berkeley’s chief financial officer, said opening David Blackwell Hall was a key part of Chancellor Carol Christ’s plan to add 7,500 new beds to campus housing over the next 10 years. Berkeley currently houses the lowest percentage of undergraduate students of any UC campus. Blackwell Hall was developed through a partnership with American Campus Communities, a Texas-based developer specializing in student housing.
“The completion of David Blackwell Hall, a public-private partnership between the university and American Campus Communities, signals a new era of housing development at Berkeley,” Rae said. “We celebrate this important step forward in delivering on the chancellor’s commitment to expanding access to safe, affordable and convenient housing for students.”
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