Bowles Hall – UC Berkeley
(Berkeley, CA)

Bowles Hall at UC Berkeley was the nation’s first residential college. Opened in 1929, the hall originally housed male undergraduates in a self-governing, live-learn community alongside graduate student and faculty mentors. “Bowlesmen” lived together in the same house for the entirety of their undergraduate careers. Mary McNear Bowles donated $250,000 towards its construction in memory of her late husband, Philip, a Berkeley alumnus and former UC regent. Built on 1.5 acres on Charter Hill, between Memorial Stadium and the Greek Theatre, Bowles Hall was designed by George W. Kelham. The eight-story, Collegiate Gothic-style building was modeled after the architectural traditions of great English universities. By the 1980’s, Bowles Hall had gradually became a regular campus residence hall primarily for freshmen. Bowles Hall was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.

UC Berkeley announced that Bowles Hall will again become a privately run student residence in 2016 following renovations. The building will be leased to the Bowles Hall Foundation.


  • Concrete Mock-up
  • Window Mock-up

Design Team

Owner: The Regents of the University of California
Original Architect: George W. Kelham
Historic Preservation Consultant: Wiss Janney Elstner Associates, Inc.
General Contractor: Clark Builders Group
Restoration Contractor: Spectra Company

The Greenest Building Is One That Already Exists