View of BAMPFA from Oxford and Center Streets in Downtown Berkeley.Photo by: ©Iwan Baan
In the role of Executive Architect, EHDD worked with Diller Scofidio + Renfro to create a new downtown Berkeley home for the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive at the University of California, Berkeley. The facility is a skillful interweaving of new and old in that the project makes use of an existing WPA-era Printing Press and Office Building, and the new addition mediates formally and programmatically between the two.
Known for our technical facility in complex building types, EHDD was presented with multiple challenges in developing detailed solutions for the dynamic design. Significant design moves such as the expansion of galleries below grade and into the water table, a theater that hovers over a void in seismic country just over a mile from the Hayward fault, and large expanses of glass- vertical and horizontal walking surfaces - required EHDD to leverage our strong technical expertise in all aspects.
The 83,000 square foot facility includes flexible galleries and support spaces for traditional displays, storage, and research of art, yet also includes a variety of performing arts spaces. A 33 seat screening room allows for intimate showings of film and lectures, while the 232 seat Osher Theater, with its excellent natural acoustics and Meyer Sound Constellation immersive sound system, supports film, lectures, live music, and even campus classroom functions. A two-story multi-purpose space with locally crafted bench seating is outfitted with audio visual and lighting capacities to allow for a range of events, from delicate dance recital to raucous house music. An exterior LED screen takes the museum’s mission outside, activating the building’s façade, and can broadcast programming for large gatherings when the adjacent street is cordoned off.
The original Press Building is notable for the printing of the UN Charter documents that were signed in 1945 at San Francisco’s Herbst Theater. In its new urban location, BAMPFA’s repurposed and new buildings promise to provoke remarkable art, film, and community engagement events in its future.
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