Berkeley High School: G and H Buildings – Berkeley CA


The G and H buildings were New Deal added to Berkeley High School in the 1930s, almost surely funded by the Public Works Administration (PWA).  The origin and amount of funds need to be confirmed, as do the years of construction (they were probably completed in 1940).

When they were built, the G and H buildings were known as the Industrial Arts and Sciences buildings, a name still inscribed along the exterior on the west side, Both buildings front on Martin Luther King, Jr. Way, with the H building to the north on the corner of Allston Way. 

The H building has a central entrance topped by a bas-relief of St George and the Dragon.  The G building has a series of columns and windows with the names of great inventors inscribed between them and further bas-reliefs of various industrial arts. The G building also has an entrance on the interior court with the bas-relief inscription “Science, Industry, Commerce” over the doors and further bas-reliefs above.

Susan Cerny, long-time historian for the Berkeley Architecture Heritage, observed: “These buildings are fine examples of the Art Deco style in the Bay Area. They were designed as an ensemble with the adjacent Berkeley High School Community Theater. Bas-reliefs and other surface decoration accentuate an architecture of simple geometric volumes. The block-long west facade is enlivened by alternating two-and three-story sections, repetitively patterned window groupings, and a subtle asymmetry. The facades are graced by a large bas-relief of the goddess Cybele and Jacques Schnier’s vibrant depiction of St. George and the Dragon.” 

The buildings have a marker placed by the Berkeley Historical Society, but no mention is made of the New Deal contribution.

Source notes

Cerny, Susan Dinkelspiel. Berkeley Landmarks. Berkeley Architectual Association, 2001.

We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.


Location Info

2223 Martin Luther King Way
Berkeley, CA 94704

Coordinates: 37.8686, -122.272

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