Last week, Diller Scofidio + Renfro unveiled plans for the new Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archives (BAM/PFA), which is part renovation and part modern addition. Located at the boundary of the historic city center of Berkeley and the university's campus, the BAM/PFA symbolically and physically bridges the gap between civic and educational interests. The art museum will occupy the renovated art deco space, which was formerly the university's printing press. While the film archives will fill out the new structure, characterized by sawtooth skylights and a metallic sculpted volume. The BAM/PFA is working towards LEED Silver (or higher) certification when it is completed in 2015.
Plans have been underway since 1997 to build a new facility for the art museum and film archives, which do not meet current seismic standards. Originally, Tokyo-based Toyo Ito & Associates came up with the new design, but after the economic collapse, the design was deigned too expensive. Diller Scofidio + Renfro were then selected to come up with a new design that would make use of the existing 1939 concrete Art Deco-style building, which has sat unoccupied since 2004. The new design will create a cohesive and exciting space for for art, film, education, civic interaction, and administration.
A large portion of the museum, including the lobby, multipurpose gallery, MATRIX gallery (devoted to exhibiting work by emerging artists), community gallery, special-event space, and café, will be free to the public. A sensitive renovation will seek to preserve much of the original printing plant building, including aspects of the building envelope, sawtooth roof and distinctive facade, but will excavate the interior to meet the demands of the art museum and will be seismically upgraded. The film archives will largely occupy the new construction, which is characterized by a sculpted volume of metallic ribbons. Large skylights and windows will pull in natural daylight into appropriate spaces and a dramatic cantilevered volume will jut out over the space and serve as the cafe.
Images ©Diller Scofidio + Renfro