California Memorial Stadium

Capacity63 186
Country United States of America
CityBerkeley
ClubsCalifornia Golden Bears
Inauguration 24/11/1923
Construction 12/1922-11/1923
Renovations 2010-2012
Cost $1,437,982 (1923), $321 million (2011)
Design John Galen Howard, Baker & Carpenter, George E. Cunningham
Address 76 Canyon Rd, Berkeley, California 94704, USA

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Description: California Memorial Stadium

After the announcement of two Californian giants in Los Angeles and Pasadena in early 1920s, Berkeley also decided to get a new and impressive stadium. Initial cost was covered in just 10 days, as the 10,000 seat licenses ($100 each) were snapped almost on the spot.

Despite controversies and other options, entry to the Strawberry Canyon in eastern Berkeley was selected as preferred location for the stadium, proving over the years to be a priceless choice. Fans on both sides of the stadium are offered a unique view. Those in the east may overlook western San Francisco Bay waters with the stadium’s elevated location. Meanwhile spectators in the west get a great view of the Berkeley Hills. The stadium and its unique setting were listed among the federal historic places in 2006, gaining legal protection.

Construction took less than a year with the stadium’s simple, partly landfill-based structure. Its huge sunken bowl remained almost completely unchanged until 2010, when almost all of the western side was torn down, leaving only parts of the original neoclassical facades. New stands was built in this place by 2012, though it differs very little at first sight from the old one.

Historical protection forced retaining the very same footprint and almost identical geometry, while the new corporate zones and concession areas are less visible. As part of the revamp a glass terrace was created atop the stadium, allowing guests to get a view of both the stadium’s interior and the panorama of Berkeley.

Initial capacity was set at over 72,000 people, but for major events it could be raised to over 80,000. Today the number is much lower, owing partly to more comfortable seat allocation in the west. Some argue the total number of spectators may actually exceed this stadium’s size, because top games draw people also to a nearby hill known as the Tightwad Hill.

Anchor tenants of the stadium remain unchanged since the earliest days of this stadium. It’s the Golden Bears NCAA side. However the name’s meaning has changed since the opening. Initially the Memorial was dedicated to Californians fallen during WWI. Since 2012 the name refers to all locals who lost their lives fighting for the country.

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