Formed "to promote mutual acquaintance and fellowship among officers of instruction and government of the University," the Faculty Club was the much-needed, grand successor to the University Dining Association cottage, which served the faculty during the 1890s.
Originally designed by famous Berkeley architect, Bernard Maybeck, the Faculty Club was initially a one-room club house. Even before the dedication of the new club in September 1902, plans were underway for a western addition, also designed by Maybeck. Thus began the nontraditional evolution of a historic Berkeley landmark. As John Gilbert Paltridge noted in A History of the Faculty Club at Berkeley
, the Club “is a dozen or more separate buildings constructed over a span of nearly one hundred years and simply nailed one to the other.”
Yet the cohesion and elegance of what is today a much larger structure belies the Faculty Club’s “unnatural development.” Credit, here, belongs to John Galen Howard, who oversaw design and construction of north and east wings, and the Howard Room and sections to the south. Howard, whose bust (pictured on the right) hangs in the room named for him at the Faculty Club, designed several of UC Berkeley’s most iconic structures and was supervising architect of the original Master Plan of the University of California campus.
Today, the Faculty Club is considered an architectural gem of Craftsman design and is listed internationally as one of the finest examples of the style. The carved beams, the fireplaces, the stained glass windows all reflect Maybeck’s awareness of a special northern California aesthetic. The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in March 1982.
Incorporated in 1902, as a private, mutual benefit corporation, the Faculty Club’s member history is closely intertwined with the University’s. The Club’s illustrious membership roster has contained many professors famous in their fields, including several Nobel Laureates. Past members include many of the same men for whom campus buildings are named, and past and current Chancellors of the University.