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Coordinates: 37°52′25″N 122°15′28″W 37.87361, -122.25778


Evans Hall


  • The mere mention of Evans rarely elicits a positive feeling. For those with the misfortune of having a classroom or office inside, the building's design worsens the boredom and sheer terror that is Math 1A. Even for those who are lucky enough (oh, and are they a rare and lucky few) to never have any classes held inside the second tallest building on campus, this eyesore at the top of Memorial Glade brings up memories of annual suicides, jokes in the Heuristic Squelch, and blame shifting from architecture students from Wurster. However, this building occupies an important role in UCB history. Not only was it the last building to go up until 1991 (1980 if you count Bechtel Terrace), it was the last building of more than 7 stories to be built at UC Berkeley. Guess enough was enough, eh? In addition, the CS department traces its roots to Evans, as does the computer infrastructure of the entire campus. [1]
  • There has been much debate over which of the three Big Ugly Concrete Boxes (Evans, Barrows, and Wurster) is the ugliest Berkeley building. While many often say Wurster, which features odd and asymmetrical concrete formations and outgrowths, a quick visit inside each of these buildings will be sufficient proof that Evans wins the contest hands down. The layout of the building is the standard courtyard form, with rooms built around a rectangular hallway. However, there are more rooms where the courtyard should be. This means that the hallway and the interior rooms get no sunlight at all, making all but the basement, ground, first, ninth, and tenth floors feel like a basement. [1]
  • The basement feels like you're deep below the earth. The ground and first floors have doors to the outside world, and feel like the ground and first floors. The ninth floor feels like the first due to the courtyard. The tenth feels like the tenth.[1]
  • The location of Evans Hall was originally intended in the 1907 John Galen Howard plan as the focal point of a symmetric campus. A giant domed auditorium of approximately the same dimensions as Evans Hall was planned for the site.[1]
  • Evans was originally a bare concrete building, much like Wurster Hall. However, during an earthquake retrofit in 2000, contact between steel rebars and the concrete caused the concrete surface to disintegrate, and chunks of the outside wall fell off the building. To solve this problem, the exterior was sealed in some sort of cementish coating. UC Berkeley also took this opportunity to give Evans a makeover with a new color scheme. Unfortunately, Evans' makeover did not come out as well as similarly styled Barrows Hall. Instead, now Evans holds the dubious distinction of having the darkest walls of any major UCB building, giving it a very threatening look. Not exactly the greatest thing for Math 1A or Math 53 students heading in for their midterm.[1]
  • In January 2003, one of four campus emergency sirens was installed on top of Evans Hall. These sirens are tested at noon on the first Wednesday of every month.[1]
  • Places to Check Out:[1]
      1. 9th Floor Courtyard. Hidden from view by the massive bulk of Evans, this open but almost never used courtyard features furniture and a very noisy fountain, whose sound is enhanced by the flat reflective surfaces around the building. Has added benefit of letting light into 9th and 10th floors, eliminating "basement effect".
      2. North Stairwell Shaft. A 3-meter square shaft running the full height of Evans. A constant wind flow creates a loud howling sound that spills into the stairwell and onto the building floors when the door is opened.
      3. Basement Computer Lab. Before Soda Hall was built, EECS and CS majors lived the better part of their life deep in the bowels of Evans. Although prolonged stays here are not recommended, it is worth a visit for the atmosphere, which comes complete with checkerboard tile floor, subdued green walls, low ceilings, flourescent lighting, and electrical background noise. Although this basement lab was refitted after a flood in 2001 (caused by retrofitting work hitting a main), it still retains a lot of the atmosphere. The Evans computer lab, the first computer lab on campus, was originally called the WEB (Workstations in Evans Basement) when established in the mid 1980s. Now it has a less colorful name that I don't remember, though it still retains its old geekiness. Legend is that the popular multiplayer game Netrek was developed and first played here. It is also possible that it took place in the eXperimental Computing Facility "fishbowl" in Cory Hall.
      4. UC Berkeley Central Computer Network Connection. This is a legacy of the fact that the Computer Science department grew out of the mathematics department. CS used to be in the middle floors of Evans, wedged between math and statistics, but eventually grew too big and got its own building, Soda Hall. Computers were introduced to UCB in Evans and ever since, Evans Hall has been the center of UCB computing. All outgoing or incoming traffic (i.e. Internet) goes through the main server in the Evans basement, which occupies all of the basement except the quarter taken up by the computer lab. You can get a glimpse of it through one of the windows on the door, which is locked for obvious reasons. You can hear it in the entire basement. The size of the server bandwidth housed in Evans is second only to the Pentagon. Evans is one of the first buildings in the world to be connected to the Internet.
      5. 10th Floor Balcony. Formerly an off-limits area. Although the door wasn't locked, if opened, the "suicide alarm" will sound. The pavement outside Evans Hall has been the cause of more deaths than any other single object in the history of Berkeley, with an average of just under one jump a year. Not every Evans suicide was by the 10th floor balcony though- in March 2002 a student committed suicide by plastic bag suffocation on the 9th floor. The balcony had really nice views though, so in 2004 the problem was corrected by installing plate glass windows around the balcony to deter jumpers.
      6. 3 Evans. A room with two doors used to circumvent the Evans Hall security perimeter by CS majors needing to get into the 260 Evans lab at night.
      7. 238 Evans. Home of the CSUA, Computer Science Undergraduate Association, from 1986 to 1994. On the second floor.
      8. 260 Evans. Location of one of the earliest UC Berkeley Computer Labs. On the second floor.
      9. 506 Evans. Home of the CSUA, Computer Science Undergraduate Association, from 1982 to 1986. On the fifth floor.



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