Diller Scofidio + Renfro's Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive to open in 2016

March 27, 2015
The Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive recently announced the details to the first exhibition and other exciting plans for their new location at Oxford and Center Streets, across the UC Berkeley campus.  Designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro and EHDD as executive achitect, the new curvilinear building -- which will be integrated with the former UC Berkeley printing plant -- will include improved accessible spaces to house BAM/PFA's exhibition, film screenings, offices, and other public amenities. DS+R aims to balance the original existing elements with the new in the approximately 82,000 sq.ft project.

The first major exhibition, "Architecture of Life", will delve into the multi-faceted roles that architecture -- as a concept, metaphor, and practice -- influences everyday life experiences. An international showcase of over 150 works of art, architectural drawings, models, and scientific illustrations from the last 1,000 years will occupy the entire building.

The new BAM/PFA is set to open in early 2016.

Project description:

"The new BAM/PFA integrates a 48,000-square-foot Art Deco–style building, formerly the UC Berkeley printing plant, with a 35,000-square-foot new structure. The new building will total 83,000 square feet, with 25,000 square feet of gallery space. The $112 million project has been funded through a philanthropic capital campaign and private sources."

The new building will merge old and new into a dynamic and versatile home for BAM/PFA's offices, collections, programs, and other amenities. In keeping with the institution's sustainable practices, the adaptive reuse of an existing University building will provide a modernized home for BAM/PFA. The new design incorporates and echoes many elements of the original building. The printing plant's distinctive north-facing sawtooth roof has been preserved,  which will allow filtered natural light into many of the ground-floor galleries.

The new structure, a stainless steel–clad curvilinear volume, carries into the twenty-first century the streamlined Deco style of the 1939 printing plant. This distinctive form extends from the theater volume at the northeast corner to the cafe, which dramatically cantilevers above the main entrance on Center Street.

BAM/PFA visitors will enjoy two film theaters (with 232 seats and 33 seats, respectively), a performance forum, cafe, four study centers for art and film, a reading room, an art-making lab, and various creatively designed gathering areas. BAM/PFA's Director Lawrence Rinder notes: "The new BAM/PFA combines serene spaces for viewing art and film with public areas that will inspire audiences with their fresh, imaginative design and versatility."

BAM/PFA will be a new anchor for Berkeley's downtown arts district with screenings of some four hundred films and presentations of up to twenty art exhibitions annually, as well as an extensive schedule of public programs and performances. The versatile galleries will accommodate a range of artwork and the theaters will be equipped with state-of-the-art projection, sound, and acoustics.

"The new BAM/PFA's inaugural exhibition, Architecture of Life, will explore the ways that architecture—as concept, metaphor, and practice—illuminates aspects of life experience: the nature of the self and psyche, the fundamental structures of reality, and the power of the imagination to reshape our world. The exhibition will present an international selection of over 150 works of art, architectural drawings and models, and scientific illustrations made over the past one thousand years."

By Staff