"The Bay Area Style"

The northern California tradition, or what is sometimes termed “The Bay Area Style,” refers less to a catalogue of specific features than to an attitude toward building. In reaction to the complicated Victorian styles of the 19th century, designers emphasized loose, casual planning, modest domestic and rural forms at one with their local environment, and well-crafted, simple, natural materials, such as wood and concrete, inspired by the turn-of-the-century Arts and Crafts movement and its local version in the “First Bay Tradition” (Bernard Maybeck, Julia Morgan).

Asymmetrical, playful, “woodsy,” and informal were qualities they sought and combined in sophisticated compositions. They valued low, horizontal structures with roof overhangs, exterior walkways, and porches to provide shelter from sun, wind, and rain.

Many of the first designers of the campus and its buildings were architects well known in the region, usually connected with the University of California at Berkeley. They developed the “Second Bay Tradition,” which began in the 1920s and continued into the 1960s, when UCSC was designed.

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