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Church Divinity School

of the Pacific

Berkeley, California

CDSP, Welcome Center exterior
CDSP, Welcome Center exterior
CDSP, Welcome Center exterior

The Church Divinity School of the Pacific (CDSP) was founded in 1893 and is the only Episcopal seminary on the West Coast. The school established its’ Berkeley campus in 1924 and is a founding member of the Graduate Theological Union. The CDSP’s architecture is an eclectic mix of Neo-Gothic and Modern buildings with St. Margaret’s Courtyard its central gathering space. 


The CDSP receives a considerable amount of visitors and the school found that the campus lacked an easily identifiable “front door”. They proposed a new Welcome Center where guests could be greeted and receive information. The Center would be located in Parsons Hall, a Skidmore Owings and Merrill designed building from the early1960’s, just north of St. Margaret’s Courtyard.


Parson’s Hall is lifted on large brick clad pillars at its’ base. The Welcome Center would sensitively “infill” one bay of this colonnade with a custom steel and glass enclosure inspired by the existing building’s windows. Inside, the space would be clad with warm wood slatted walls that fold to become the ceiling and ultimately a sunscreen. For durability; the flooring would be stone, set in an ashlar pattern to echo the traditional Neo-Gothic roots of the campus. 

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