Herbert Wertheim Center Of Excellence For Eyecare + Vision Health, Emeryville, California

Internationally recognized for excellence in patient care and vision research, the Herbert Wertheim School of Optometry & Vision Science at University of California Berkeley (UCB; Berkeley, Calif.) provides comprehensive eye care to the Berkeley campus and the local community, with more than 80,000 annual patient visits.

UCB commissioned a three-month comprehensive study conducted by TEF Design (San Francisco) to identify options for the School of Optometry’s existing and future physical space needs for its various program elements, including expansion of its teaching clinic and facilities improvement.

Based on the findings, UCB decided to expand the School of Optometry to a satellite location in Emeryville, Calif., to accommodate growing community demand and to allow for potential future on-campus renovation of existing teaching clinic facilities.

Adaptive reuse for vision health

The Herbert Wertheim Center of Excellence for Eyecare + Vision Health, expected to open in 2025, will renovate a former car showroom and garage into a 38,000-square-foot facility that will include a clinic, vision therapy spaces, and the Academy for Advanced Clinical Education for graduate clinical education.

The design will maximize the existing building’s volume and height by bisecting it vertically and inserting a new floor within the existing structure. The additional floor will increase the usable square footage, allowing the program to fit more comfortably.

The project team, including architect and interior design firm TEF Design (San Francisco), plans to preserve as much of the building’s original charm, which includes a double-height volume, expansive street-facing storefronts, heavy timber columns and trusses, and exposed concrete walls.

For example, the wood trusses and framing elements will be left exposed in public and retail areas and the original concrete walls will be maintained in non-clinical spaces. Additionally, the building’s height volume will accommodate a double-height lobby and circulation area.

To reflect these design cues in the new clinic, educational, and administrative spaces, the project’s material palette will include durable materials such as tile, wood, concrete, steel, and solid surfaces.

Herbert Wertheim Center Of Excellence For Eyecare + Vision Health project details

Project location: Emeryville, Calif.

Completion date: 2025

Owner: University of California at Berkeley

Total building area: 38,000 sq. ft.

Total construction cost: $24 million (including administrative costs)

Cost/sq. ft.: $630

Architect: TEF Design

Interior designer: TEF Design

General contractor: Plant Construction

Engineers: Guttmann & Blaevoet (MEP, low voltage), Forell Elsesser (structural), BKF (civil)

Sustainability consultant: Stock

Acoustical consulting: Salter

Signage/wayfinding design: Clearstory

Cost estimator: Cumming

Joint trench consultant: Urban Design Consulting Engineers

Flooring: Crossville, Teknoflor, Mannington, Nora, 2Tec2

Ceiling/wall systems: Armstrong World Industries, 9Wood, Conwed, Newmat

Doors/locks/hardware: Allegion

Furniture—seating/casegoods: CRI

Lighting: Lumenwerx, Lindsley, Finelite, Ecosense, Q Tran, Zumtobel


Surfaces—solid/other: Corian

Wallcoverings: Navy Island, Carnegie, Acrovyn


Project details are provided by the design team and not vetted by Healthcare Design.