Social Science Matrix is UC Berkeley’s new flagship center for social science research, now housed in a light filled gathering space designed for the digital age by Ratcliff. The top floor of Berkeley campus’ Barrows Hall was transformed into an “extraordinary space…lean, open and efficient” for 21st century collaboration.
The center was designed to be a flexible and dynamic environment to support social-science research that enables Berkeley to stay at the forefront of disciplines like economics, political science, and sociology, particularly as there has been a major shift in the social sciences following the rise of digital technologies and the explosion of data.
Ratcliff conducted a feasibility study of the 8th floor, historically the Lipman Room conference space, to determine how the Matrix program might be served. To the existing 5,200 square foot space the architects added a new 750 square foot mezzanine with modern and functional spaces to meet program requirements. The original tall volume had special design considerations for partition framing. Generous glass end walls at conference and seminar rooms allow natural daylight to fully enter the spaces.
Requests to save the original wood paneling were honored and a large matching wood partition was added as a focal point fixed wall. With the original wood paneling and panoramic views to the Berkeley campus and San Francisco Bay, the center captures not only the spirit of the original Lipman Room but the idealistic vitality of its new occupants.