Address
University of California, Berkeley
Year Constructed
1914
Structural Engineering Firm(s)
Structural Engineer(s)
Architect(s)
John Galen Howard
Media
Sather Tower
Sather Tower
Source: Dirk Beyer
Sather Tower At Sunset
Sather Tower At Sunset
Sather Tower At Night
Sather Tower At Night
Sather Tower Early Concept Showing Apartments
Sather Tower Early Concept Showing Apartments
Sather Tower Under Construction - Steel Frame
Sather Tower Under Construction - Steel Frame
Sather Tower Under Construction - Granite Panels
Sather Tower Under Construction - Granite Panels
Structure Description

Sather Tower is a 307-foot bell and clock tower constructed in 1914 and opened to the public in 1917.  The structure is a steel braced frame cladded with granite blocks. The bell tower consists of a carillon that plays 61 bells, while the basement houses many fossils from the Department of Integrated Biology.

Significance to Structural Engineering History in Northern California

Sather Tower is the most recognizable landmark of the University of California, Berkeley and the San Francisco Bay Area East Bay Hills. It was designed by campus architect John Galen Howard in 1911 and was intended to be a secondary axis on his master campus plan, which was never fully realized. Nonetheless, the dubbed “lighthouse of learning” serves as the physical symbol of the university’s lofty vision and enduring contribution to California and the world.

Awards
  • National Register of Historic Places (1982)
  • Berkeley Landmark (1991)
Interesting Facts
  • The structure is more commonly known as the Campanile, taking the name of the structure in Venice, Italy it resembles.
  • The structure is named after Jane K. Sather, who funded the construction and first set of bells.
  • The structure is the third largest bell and clock tower in the world.
  • Since 1913 (and to this day), the tower houses 20 tons of paleontological fossil remains. The reason was that the structure was close to Bacon Hall, the home of the palentology department, which did not have the storage space.
  • Sather Tower is featured on the cover of October 6, 1947 edition of Time magazine with UC President Robert Gordon Sproul.
  • Sather Tower is featured in the 1951 film Night into Morning, starring Nancy Davis (future Nancy Reagan).
  • The original 12 bells donated by Jane K. Sather were insufficient to play many tunes. 36 bells would be added 1978 and another 13 bells in 1983.
  • Students can take a class on learning to play the carillon and bells at Sather Tower.