VI. The Phoebe Apperson Hearst Gym Memorial, 1922-30
Phoebe Hearst died in 1919. That same year, President Wheeler, who had overseen the evolution of the University for twenty years, retired. John Galen Howard stepped down as supervising architect in 1924 after his resourceful but authoritarian hold on the image of the University was increasingly threatened by plans for an independent architectural sequence along Bancroft Way. These plans were the result of William Randolph Hearst's having commissioned Bernard Maybeck and Julia Morgan in the early 1920s to design a women's gymnasium and several other buildings as a memorial to his mother.
Between 1922 and 1930, a series of buildings was planned: a women's gymnasium, a domed auditorium, a grand esplanade that reached eastward, and a museum and art school. The megalomania on paper continued contemporaneously with the building and repeated altering of "La Cuesta Encantada" at the Hearst ranch in San Simeon. When the Great Depression hit, Hearst chose to continue the work at "Hearst Castle," rather than at Berkeley. Therefore, nothing was built on this segment of campus except the ambitious Hearst Memorial Gymnasium for Women, 1923-27. The donor had encouraged the inclusion of pools and spaces for cultural uses other than athletics. Drawings show that the "E-shaped" building was intended to have richly polychromed walls and sculpture.
Had this complex been fully realized, the southeastern edge of the campus would have been a colorful mirage of forms recalling ancient ruins and Baroque indulgences-the ultimate "Rome on the Pacific." Viewing these final drawings will help answer the question of how the Berkeley campus might have looked had Maybeck designed it, which he was originally urged to do in 1895.
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