Major destination for art and film lovers to open its doors in Berkeley, USA
The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) in USA opens its new building to the public on Sunday, January 31, 2016, with an all-day open house. The building was designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, known for such projects as the High Line elevated park in New York; The Broad museum in Los Angeles; and the Institute for Contemporary Art, Boston. Located in downtown Berkeley at the intersection of Oxford and Center Streets, directly across from the UC Berkeley campus, the new BAMPFA provides exemplary spaces for exhibitions and film screenings, as well as access to BAMPFA’s encyclopedic collections of art and film. In its new location BAMPFA will continue to be a major destination for art and film lovers, including students, local residents, and visitors from around the globe.
BAMPFA was formerly housed in a Brutalist building for more than four decades, which was closed due to seismic concerns. Japanese architect Toyo Ito was originally hired to design a new facility for the institution, but he was ousted in 2008 due to high costs.
BAMPFA Director Lawrence Rinder comments, “The new BAMPFA will be the architectural and cultural centrepiece of downtown Berkeley. Combining serene spaces for viewing film and art with dynamic public areas, the building will inspire audiences for generations with its fresh, imaginative design and versatility.”
The new BAMPFA integrates the 48,000 sq ft Art Deco–style former UC Berkeley printing plant with a 35,000 sq ft new structure. The building totals 83,000 sq ft, with 25,000 sq ft of gallery space. Visitors can enjoy two film theatres (with 232 seats and 33 seats, respectively), a performance forum, four study centres for art and film, a reading room, an art-making lab, a cafe, and an outdoor LED screen and viewing plaza.
BAMPFA selected world-renowned interdisciplinary design firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro for the project because of its unique ability to connect institutions to wider urban and public contexts and its proven success in merging adaptive reuse of historic structures with dramatic new design in major urban cultural initiatives. DS+R’s design supports BAMPFA’s mission and enhances its ability to provide the community with exceptional art and film experiences. “The new home for BAMPFA leverages its location between downtown Berkeley and the UC campus by providing unprecedented visual and physical access to its programs for both visitors and casual passersby,” states Charles Renfro, partner at DS+R. “BAMPFA will become a new social and cultural hub for the entire region.”
“The design merges the old and new to create a permeable interface between the institution and the public,” Renfro continues. “The supple body of the new structure, draped between the original 1930s orthogonal buildings and snagged on their sharp corners, creates a dramatic public spine that begins as a cantilevered cafe marking the building’s entrance, and culminates in an indoor theatre on the other end of the site. The sculptural form of the theatre volume reinterprets the 1930s Art Deco style of the press building in a contemporary language of ruled surfaces and precision-formed stainless steel.” Meanwhile the original north-facing sawtooth roof of the printing plant is retained, providing indirect natural light to the art galleries within. At the Addison Street end, the new structure is integrated with a large outdoor LED screen and plaza for public screenings.
Master woodworker Paul Discoe fabricated joinery elements that add natural warmth to the building. The craftsman built the stepped seating of the performance space, the admissions desk, and the counter and shelving units in the BAMPFA store using wood that was salvaged from the Canary Island pine trees that were removed from the building site prior to construction.