Construction Wrapping Up For UC Berkeley Dorm, Downtown Berkeley

Anchor House from the Crescent Lawn road, image by Andrew Campbell NelsonAnchor House from the Crescent Lawn road, image by Andrew Campbell Nelson

Construction is wrapping up for the 14-story student dorm at 1950 Oxford Street in Downtown Berkeley, Alameda County. The project, named the Helen Diller Anchor House, is expected to open in time to welcome UC Berkeley transfer students for the Fall semester this year.

The 14-story structure contains roughly 455,000 square feet and accommodates 772 students, or roughly 1.7% of all UC Berkeley students as of this year. The structure is around 180 feet tall, just a few feet shorter than the current tallest building in Berkeley, the 186-foot-tall Chase Building.

Anchor House seen from UC Berkeley campus, rendering by Morris Adjmi Architects

Anchor House seen from UC Berkeley campus, rendering by Morris Adjmi Architects

Anchor House entry elevation, image by Andrew Campbell Nelson

Anchor House entry elevation, image by Andrew Campbell Nelson

Anchor House entrance, rendering by Morris Adjmi Architects

Anchor House entrance, rendering by Morris Adjmi Architects

Anchor House will have 244 apartments on floors four through 14. Unit types will vary, with 47 studio apartments, 30 two-bedroom apartments, 3 three-bedroom apartments, and 164 four-bedroom apartments. Each apartment will feature rooms to offer students a private single-bed apartment-like residence furnished with built-in desks, a kitchen, appliances, and a washer-dryer unit.

The property will primarily be for transfer students, undergraduate juniors, and seniors. Amenities will include a maker space, a culinary classroom for the Rausser College of Natural Resources, two event spaces, and an 8,600-square-foot fitness center. A large community center with a kitchen, outdoor courtyards, and terrace patios will serve as a gathering space.

Anchor House overlooking Oxford Street, image by Andrew Campbell Nelson

Anchor House overlooking Oxford Street, image by Andrew Campbell Nelson

Anchor House lobby, rendering by Morris Adjmi Architects

Anchor House lobby, rendering by Morris Adjmi Architects

Across the ten floors of housing, residents will be near several lounges and meeting rooms to facilitate social engagement. Open space will be abundant with the central courtyard, several terraces, and balconies facing towards the campus, Downtown Berkeley, and across the Bay.
The rooftop deck will include a vegetable garden that will be available for students.

Morris Adjmi Architects is the design architect working in collaboration with BDE Architecture. Our recent site visit shows that the project is nearly identical to the renderings, imbued with a tripartite division along the facade delineated by the darker brick base, the center of pale brick and metal-framed windows, and the top two metal-clad floors. The structure is uncompromising in its scale, with a sheer wall rising up from the property line to maximize capacity.

Anchor House with University Hall in the background, image by Andrew Campbell Nelson

Anchor House with University Hall in the background, image by Andrew Campbell Nelson

The Regents of the University of California approved the project in July 2021, along with the $300 million budget funded by the controversial Helen Diller Family Foundation. Construction started in early February 2022, and the structure topped out last summer. During our most recent visit, the exterior and landscaping around the building appeared practically complete, with interiors visible from the street. Students are expected to start moving in by Fall for the next school year.

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11 Comments on "Construction Wrapping Up For UC Berkeley Dorm, Downtown Berkeley"

  1. Hobart Smedley | May 17, 2024 at 9:12 am | Reply

    “Uncompromising in scale” is a euphemism for “oppressive, massively large, and ugly”. That thing is a blight on the Berkeley cityscape.

    • Dante Preston | May 17, 2024 at 10:18 am | Reply

      Blight on Berkeley are students sleeping in cars!

      • Hobart Smedley | May 18, 2024 at 7:31 am | Reply

        The rooms in this thing are going to be about the same price as existing housing. It’s not going to do anything for the handful of students who are so poor that they have to sleep in a car.

        • NINBYs are so weird. Their argument is always “Since you can’t build all the needed housing at once, don’t build anything at all that would fix 1% of the problem.”

          Wise man : “A journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step.”
          NIMBY : “I want to teleport 1000 miles immediately!!! But since I can’t, I won’t even take the first step.”

          NIMBYs seem like people who never evolved past age 5 in certain areas of psychology.

  2. concerned citizen | May 17, 2024 at 9:48 am | Reply

    Dormzilla lives!
    Charlie Munger is smiling…

  3. Well said Dante! This is exactly what we need. More updated housing near the University. Bravo.

  4. This is great and will help with the student housing shortage. Some people act like Berkeley is a rustic village.

  5. I’m happy for the added housing units, but agree this is one of the ugliest residential projects in Berkeley. How does natural light reach the center units?

  6. Ironically, this new building aesthetic and scale is worse than old University Hall (left in photo) which is soon to be demolished. Very disappointing.

  7. Beautiful Design providing much needed housing with a variety of pricing levels. I especially like the terraces and common meeting spaces designed to bring students together with a sense of community. Well Done!

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