BAMPFA was previously located in a Brutalist building, but had to be moved due to seismic concerns. Toyo Ito was commissioned to design the new BAMPFA home, but the plan was abandoned due to high costs. The institution finally settled on the 1930s power plant, consisting of a low-slung structure with a sawtooth roof and a three-story bar. DS +R added a metal-clad extension that cantilevers over the street.
“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 theater on the other end of the site,” said Renfro.
The building houses the main theater with 232 seats, 25,000 square feet of art galleries, a 33-seat theater, multi-use performance space, four study areas, a reading room and art studio. In addition to these, the firm conceived the outdoor plaza as a space for public film screenings.