Exploring the Albany Bulb

Take a closer look at an art-eclectic landfill north of Berkeley.

Atlas Obscura

THE EVER EVOLVING BULB: One fact of life here on earth is places have a way of changing over time. Today's formal garden might be the sight of some future shopping mall and then, a thousand years after that, perhaps a swimming hole, or even another garden again. But when the window of time is greatly truncated, and the span of change is shortened, the effects can be rather wonderful and eerie and dramatic and beautiful. All of those words might be applied to the Albany Bulb, the "landfill-cum-arts-environment" just a bit north of Berkeley. What started as the filling of wetlands near the bay evolved in a matter of decades to something quite different: A place where art is created. Well, art, and dogs are walked, and people come to do some hiking. In short, a place was changed, and then changed again, via human interest and will in basically under a century. Obscura Society SF is taking a field trip to the mostly city-owned Bulb for an afternoon of mural-admiring, sunshine-basking, and a search for the area's famous Castle.

A CONCRETE CASTLE: The so-called Castle of the area is made out of concrete, but there are more natural artistic expression in the Bulb, such as driftwood sculptures. And, yep, plenty of creatively applied found materials. Want to know more about the area's expressive side? Filmmaker Tomas McCabe has taken on the topic, and his observations will help guide the Obscura Society day out. A tour ticket is seven bucks.

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