Bevatron and Building 51
Landmark Application

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    Bevatron and Building 51
    Landmark Application
    City of Berkeley
    Landmarks Preservation Commission
    Bevatron

Street Address: Building 51, One Cyclotron Road, Berkeley, California 94720

  1. Original owner’s or business’s name: University of California Radiation Laboratory (UCRL
    Present common name:
    Building 51 or the Bevatron

  2. Original owner: University of California Radiation Laboratory (UCRL)
  3. Present owner’s name & address: Department of Energy, (situated on University of California land)
  4. Original use: Synchrotron, Particle Accelerator
  5. Present use: Equipment storage, shop area, offices.
  6. Is property on any survey? National Register YES, California Register State Historic Resources Inventory YES, Neighborhood, Urban Conservation Survey Plan, BAHA Tours, Neighborhood or Area Plan.
  7. Application for landmark includes: Building(s) YES Other: YES Bevatron Apparatus, interior structure
  8. Is the property endangered? If yes, please explain: YES, The Bevatron structure and apparatus are in danger of being demolished. The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory announced in a Draft Environmental Impact Review was to be circulated for comment from October 21-December 7, 2005. This document is a proposal to demolish Building 51 and the Bevatron.
  9. Date of construction: 1949-1954, altered in 1957, 1961, 1965-69, 1980. Factual: YES, Source of information: HAER – No. CA-186-A
  10. Architect: Masten & Hurd (architect), Milton T Pflueger (architect), Huber and Knapik (structural engineers). Bevatron Atomic Particle Accelerator designed by William Brobeck, (engineer)
  11. Style: 20th Century Industrial (specialized)
  12. Historic Value: National: YES, State: YES, County: YES, City: YES, Neighborhood: YES,
  13. Architectural Value: National: YES, State: YES, County: YES, City: YES, Neighborhood: YES
  14. Present Condition of Property: Exterior: Good, Interior: Good
  15. Survey prepared by: L A Wood & Pamela Sihvola, Date: March 27, 2006

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
The Bevatron, the largest high-energy accelerator in the world, when it opened in 1954 at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (then called the UC Radiation Laboratory), was declared eligible on December 5, 1995, for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. On that same date the California State Office of Historic Preservation listed the Bevatron on the California Inventory of Historic Places.

The historic importance of this cold-war era architecturally significant structure, the Bevatron, renders the idea of its demolition tragic. The Bevatron meets all (3) three criteria for listing eligibility on the National Register of Historic Places.

Criterion A. By its “significant contribution to broad patterns of our history”, the Bevatron was among the world’s leading particle accelerators during the 1950s and 1960s and was considered the most productive accelerator of its time. It helped establish American leadership in scientific research with significant contributions in the fields of particle and nuclear physics. Four Nobel Prizes were awarded for this research, largely conducted at the Bevatron.

Criterion B. The Bevatron is associated with many significant persons who worked at the Bevatron during the productive period of their lives. Some spent their entire careers there. Notably, Emilio Segre and Owen Chamberlain won the Nobel Prize in 1959 for their discovery of the anti-proton in an experiment at the Bevatron. Luis Alvarez won the Nobel Prize in 1968 for his development of the bubble chamber particle detector and for his role in finding 18 particle resonances with the LBL bubble chamber used in conjunction with the Bevatron.

Criterion C. The Bevatron “embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type” of building. That is, it is a distinguished example of a rare international building type, the accelerator building. The Bevatron possesses the distinguishing characteristics of the type that “can be expressed in terms such as form, proportion, structure, plan, style or materials”. The design is a reflection of the research process in form, materials, structural systems and plan. The Bevatron illustrates patterns associated with all accelerator buildings, the individuality of the particular situation and the evolution of the processes it was designed to accommodate.

Further, the Bevatron meets Critierion C in “ representing the work of a master”, i.e. the architectural firm of Masten and Hurd. At that time they specialized in large-scale institutional projects, which in addition to the Bevatron, included San Francisco’s Hasting College of Law and Warren Hall on the UC Berkeley campus.

The citations above are from the Dobkin/Corbett Historic Architectural Evaluation Report prepared in1994 for the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory.

1. This Landmark Application includes the following features, pursuant to BMC 3.24.100.A


• Building 51, which includes the Bevatron, is a structure worthy to be designated as a City of Berkeley landmark. It has special architectural importance because it was designed to accommodate the largest manmade machine of its time, a particle accelerator.

• Building 51 is located on a historic scientific site that also includes the Cyclotron, another historic building that was involved in cutting-edge particle physics research.

• Building 51 and the Bevatron have very special educational and cultural value to both the City of Berkeley and the University of California at Berkeley, where the building is located.

Description


The following comments are an addendum to the Historic American Engineering Record, PUB-807, HAER No. CA-186-A. This record has been accepted by the National Parks Service and is now offered as principle documentation for the City of Berkeley Landmarks Application for Building 51, Bevatron apparatus and historic setting of the facility and including an addendum below regarding the history, description, and historic significance.

Please be advised that Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which occupies Building 51, has offered only limited access to the structure’s exterior (from afar) and no access to the interior of the building and Bevatron. The following Landmarks application is based on the “Historic American Engineering Record (HAER), “Historic Architectural Evaluation Report of the Bevatron and Bevalac , Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, other publications and the limited site access noted above, as well as photo documentation.

The description of Building 51 below is an addendum to the Historic American Engineering Record PUB-807, HAER No. CA-186-A (1997), and Historic Architectural Evaluation Report of the Bevatron and Bevalac , Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory by Marjorie Dobkin and Michael Corbett (1994). (Please refer to ATTACHMENTS #1 & 4.)

Building 51 is located in the Berkeley Hills, and is part of the laboratory complex of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. It was sited on slightly more than two acres, just below the Cyclotron, which was the first of the Laboratory’s hill buildings. These two buildings formed the core of the laboratory’s physics research activities in postwar WWII. The work done at both laboratory buildings has made this historic site known to many throughout the world, especially to the scientific community.

One of the most unique aspects of the Building 51 structure is its design. The building was specifically tailored to house, what was at that time (1954), the largest manmade machine: a particle accelerator. As form often follows function, the Building 51 exterior structure has the parallel shape, footprint and mass as the particle accelerator, or synchrotron. This has contributed to the symmetry of the principle circular magnet room. Of particular beauty is the two-tier network of steel trusses supporting the roof. These spread across the 220 foot span like radial spokes of a bicycle wheel. The floor to lower roof truss measures 40 feet.

Building 51 is principally a steel-fabricated building. The huge outer steel shell encases an interior, integrated, metal structure built to support the accelerator and its heavy magnets. Because of the accelerator’s role in cutting-edge particle physics research, the tendency is to overlook the building itself and only focus on the importance of the “machine or what it does”. It is this unique integration of building and machine that makes the structure even more architecturally significant and notable.

Building 51 and the Bevatron form a one-of-a-kind structure that has no contemporary equal since most particle accelerators, like that at Stanford, are built underground. It should be noted that the Bevatron structure also includes a network of tunnels that access the lower portion of the particle accelerator and its shielding.

Despite the many changes that have occurred in last forty years at the Bevatron site, the principle circular magnet room, two-story office and shop wing along the south side of the circle, as well as a large mechanical building area, which is tangent to the circle, on the northeast side of the circle, are still intact (fig. 44). (The interior areas were not accessible to view.)

Building 51’s size of 126,000 gross-square-foot, clearly sets it apart from almost all industrial buildings. Although this huge building is not visible from the flatlands of central Berkeley, it can be easily seen in the upper hill area. It has been suggested that the location on the hill was selected because it is hidden. It’s more likely that the hill location was selected simply to provide a big enough area to hold Building 51 and the Bevatron’s activities.

The Bevatron facility and its location have a historic connection with the Cyclotron: both date to the beginnings of this national laboratory. Building 51’s conical, two-tiered, “china cap” roof adds considerably to the simplicity of its architectural line. Now covered with rock and gravel, the roof’s red color mimics terra cotta tile from a distance. From the tip of the roof to the slab floor measures 68 feet. The space between the two roof sections also provides a ring for ventilation louvers.

The gigantic, industrial appearance of the Bevatron building is softened by the clerestory windows encircling the upper portion of the principle magnet room. The clerestory windows create a beautiful line around the building and contribute a major portion of the natural lighting within this central work area. These windows are metal-sashed panels, each holding a total of 24 lights (approximately 1ft. x 1 ft.) This natural light is also allowed to filter down through the interior structure by a number of secondary skylight ports. The exterior utilizes louvered ventilator panels for added air circulation. The magnificent metal-framed structure, along with its exterior skin of corrugated transite steel panels, adds even more to the building’s strength and uniform appearance.

Seismic problems are of little concern for Building 51 since it is situated on a reinforced concrete slab that has undergone a number of reinforcements since it was first constructed.

History

History as Addendum to the Historic American Engineering Record PUB-807, HAER No. CA-186-A and Historic Architectural Evaluation Report of the Bevatron and Bevalac , Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

The history of the Bevatron and Building 51 encompasses five decades, beginning in 1954. In 1993, Building 51 was finally closed and the Bevatron’s accelerator was abandoned in-place. The early history of the Bevatron is the well-documented in the attached HAER including the Bevatron’s early research work associated with four Nobel prize winners and their important contributions in the research areas of high-energy particle physics, heavy-ion nuclear physics, medical research and therapy, as well as space-related studies of radiation damage and heavy particles in space.

“The Bevatron was among the world’s leading particle accelerators during a forty-year period from 1954 to 1993 and is associated with many significant contributions in the fields of particle science and nuclear physics, thus helping to establish American leadership in scientific research. In the late 1950’s and early 1960s, four Nobel Prizes were awarded for particle physics research conducted in whole or in part at the Bevatron” (Building 51).

Significance

Addendum to the Historic American Engineering Record , PUB-807, HAER No. CA-186-A and Historic Architectural Evaluation Report of the Bevatron and Bevalac, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

The physics research conducted at Building 51 and the Bevatron are well known, even to those outside Berkeley and the science world. Unquestionably, the Bevatron was very significant in advancing the field of physics. The idea of building the Bevatron came at a turning point for the laboratory from that of its wartime mission and the success of the Manhattan project. The Bevatron allowed this national laboratory to build on its radiation research, thus fostering its growth. The Bevatron facility also created an opportunity for use by outside qualified scientists and engineers. As a “user facility”, the Bevatron became an important part of the radiation laboratory and helped transform the national laboratory’s mission into peacetime work.

The Bevatron is a scientific artifact of the past. It reflects a time of “big science” and big ideas as well. Building 51 and the Bevatron, unlike many important historic structures, is still here to be viewed. It offers special insight to both the science and the challenge that was met in the advancement of physics in the latter half of the 20th century here in Berkeley.

The Bevatron, more than any other research facility at the hill campus, has secured a place for the laboratory on the national map and a great deal of federal funding. The City of Berkeley and the University of California have both shared in this spotlight created by the research accomplishments at the Bevatron. Perhaps, without the Bevatron’s stellar research history, there might not be a national laboratory on the hill today.

History is what happens. In Berkeley, it is hard to find a more significant historic marker than the Bevatron. It should be preserved in its entirety for science and for Berkeley.

Please note: Building 51 is eligible for listing in the Historic American Engineering Record, which is included as part of this application. It has also been accepted by the National Park Service (NPS), and an American Building Survey is currently being reviewed by NPS.

Bibliography
  • “Sharing our Research Tools”, LBL News Magazine, Vol. 9 Summer 1984.“A Historian’s View of the Lawrence Years”, LBL News Magazine, J. L. Heilbron, Robert Seidel and Bruce R. Wheaton. Fall 1981.
  • Masten & Hurd , Architects biography (City of Berkeley Landmarks Application for the U C Press Building, Ordinance #4694 N.S., page 6.)
  • Historic American Engineering Record PUB-807, HAER No. CA-186-A, Department of Energy, Contract No. DE-AC03-76SF00098.
  • Historic Architectural Evaluation Report of the Bevatron and Bevalac , Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory by Marjorie Dobkin and Micheal Corbett (1994)
  • Draft Environmental Impact Report for the Demolition of Building 51 and the Bevatron. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, October 2005
  • #1Historic American Engineering Record PUB-807, HAER No. CA-186-A, Department of Energy, Contract No. DE-AC03-76SF00098. Note: Report prepared by present and former Berkeley Lab scientists and technical staff: Edward J. Lofgren, William Brobeck, Harvey Syversrud, Richard Gough, Lee Schroeder, Glen Lambertson, Gerson Goldhaber, Bill Wenzel, Lynn Stevenson, Albert Ghiorso, Stan Curtis, and Joe Castro, 1997.

Building 51 is located in the Berkeley Hills (DIAGRAM #1 and #2), and is part of the laboratory complex of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. It was sited on slightly more than two acres, just below the Cyclotron, which was the first of the Laboratory’s hill buildings. These two buildings formed the core of the laboratory’s physics research activities in postwar WWII. The work done at both laboratory buildings has made this historic site known to many throughout the world, especially to the scientific community. Source: Demolition of Building 51 and the Bevatron, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, October 2005. Draft Environmental Impact Report.

DIAGRAM #2 Site map of Building 51 and Bevatron. Source: Demolition of Building 51 and the Bevatron, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, October 2005. Draft Environmental Impact Report.

DIAGRAM #3 A cross section drawing of Building 51 with roof detail. One of the most unique aspects of the Building 51 structure is its design. The building was specifically tailored to house, what was at that time (1954), the largest manmade machine: a particle accelerator. As form often follows function, the Building 51 exterior structure has the parallel shape, footprint and mass as the particle accelerator, or synchrotron. This has contributed to the symmetry of the principle circular magnet room. Of particular beauty is the two-tier network of steel trusses supporting the roof. These spread across the 220 foot span like radial spokes of a bicycle wheel. The floor to lower roof truss measures 40 feet. Source: Demolition of Building 51 and the Bevatron, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, October 2005. Draft Environmental Impact Report.

Index to Photographs
L A Wood, Photographer, November 2005.

    PHOTO


PLATE 1
1. EXTERIOR BUILDIING 51 AND UPPER WINDOWS
2. OVERHEAD VIEW OF BUILDING 51 ROOF SECTIONS.
3. OVERALL PHOTO OF BUILDING 51
4. CLERESTORY WINDOWS AS SEEN FROM INSIDE BUILDING 51


PLATE 2
5.STEEL ROLL UP DOORS, EXTERIOR VIEW OF BUILDING 51.
6. INTERIOR VIEW OF BEVATRON STRUCTURE WITH METAL SASH WINDOWS.
7. OVEREAD CRANE, INSIDE BUILDING 51
8. INTERIOR VIEW OF BEVATRON STRUCTURE SHOWING EXTERIOR
STEEL POST SUPPORTOF BUILDING 51

PLATE 3
9. OFFICE ENTRANCE TO BUILDING 51, SOUTHSIDE
10. DETAIL OF METAL SASH WINDOWS
11. VIEW OF SOUTHSIDE OF BUILDING 51
12. BUILDING 51 SITE, INCLUDING CYCLOTRON BUILDING

PLATE 4
13. VIEW OF BUILDING 51 WITH BAYS
14. BEVATRON SHIELDING BLOCKS (ca. 1997)
15.INTERIOR VIEW OF ROOF AND BEVATRON STRUCTURE.
16. EXTERIOR VIEW OF BUILDING 51 AND MECHANICAL ROOM

Note: The building owner, Department of Energy, was less than cooperative in giving access to the Bevatron. Applicant for the Bevatron was restricted to viewing the building from the outside only. It is recommended that those interested in seeing better photos should view the Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record.

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