The Berkeley Arts District is booming these days and presiding at the eastern edge of that hub is the David Brower Center. An architectural curiosity in a ground-breaking “green from the ground up” design, the building looms like a docked, futuristic and uber-luxury ship at the corner of Allston and Oxford in downtown Berkeley.
Their tag-line, “Dedicated to environmental and social progress in the Bay Area and beyond” is what defines them and it helps to know who David Brower was to put that statement into boldface type. A life-long Berkeley resident until his passing in 2000, David was a visionary with a passion for mountaineering and an environmental activist extraordinaire. He was the first Executive Director of the Sierra Club, founder of Friends of the Earth, co-founder of the League of Conservation Voters and founder of Earth Island Institute, which continues his work from its office in the Center today.
Designed by acclaimed architect Dan Solomon, the building utilized the most innovative green building techniques available, articulated in such a way as to receive the highest rating from the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program. Step into the museum-like building and you immediately feel like you’re somewhere beyond the norm of commercial architecture and business space. Learn more about the construction elements of the building by clicking here.
The listing of tenants of the building reads like a who’s who of sustainable activism and advocacy, and with names like the Center for Safe Energy, Citizen Engagement Laboratory, and Global Issues Network, you know these are organizations working towards securing the health and well-being of our planet. Beyond housing office space, the Center also has event facilities including the Goldman Theater, the Hazel Wolf Gallery, the Kinzie Conference Room, the Tamalpais Room and a Terrace for rooftop gatherings, all of which are available for rental. For an in-depth look at the Center, one-hour guided tours can be booked for parties of 5 or more. And at the cornerstone of the building is Gather Restaurant, offering a sustainable, Northern California inspired menu within an upscale, eco-vibe ambience.
Jackie Hasa, Director of Community Partnerships and Exhibitions at the Center, provides her insight when she tells me, “The Brower Center is a unique civic institution in the Bay Area because of its holistic – some might say ecological -perspective. As a LEED Platinum community center, we provide both permanent, green infrastructure and ongoing art and educational programming to support the health of the Bay Area’s advocacy community over the long term. We take care of the hearts and minds of the movement for a more sustainable society, and we’re very proud of that.” Indeed.
The David Brower Center, 2150 Allston Way, 510-809-0900