A Visit to Historic TB 9 at UC Davis


If you’ve never heard of TB (Temporary Building ) 9 at the University of California, Davis, it is the building that houses the classrooms and studios of the ceramics sculptural arts program made famous by Robert Arneson and his students. The 7,200 sq. ft. building was bought from the federal government as war surplus in 1947 and used as a dormitory building, fondly referred to as The Warehouse. In 1951 the buiding was converted to a combination police station, mailroom, and storage area. The art department began taking it over in 1961; Robert Arneson arrived in 1962. By the end of the 1960s the entire building had been given over to the ceramics program and a metal foundry (discontinued after the 1971 death of faculty member and metal sculptor Tio Gimbruni). If you’ve ever been to UC Davis, you’ve probably seen Giambruni’s work “Bum Bum You’ve Been Here Before”, 1967.

Arneson at TB9
Robert Arneson


Bum Bum
Bum Bum You’ve Been Here Before, Tio Giambruni, 1967

Temporary buildings have a way of never going away at UC Davis, and TB 9 is alive and well and is still the home of the ceramics teaching studio and kilns.

TB9 building

I had never actually been inside TB 9 before, but finally had a chance to see inside and discover its whimsical art garden with work colleagues not so long ago.


What follows is a photo tour of TB 9, inside and out. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.







I can’t wait to go back, and maybe the kumquat tree will still have fruit!


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