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Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive to Move In Together

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BAM/PFA Images Credit: Diller Scofidio + Renfro Ah, the Berkeley Art Museum. First the Museum's monumental but profoundly unchic gallery- a c.1960s Brutalist building by architect Mario Ciampi- gets declared seismically unsafe. Then a group of architecturally-minded trustees pulls off a major coup and gets Japanese starchitect Toyo Ito to design a new museum for a prominent, transit-and-restaurant friendly site. It's brilliant, but faced with a $140M-plus initial estimate for Ito's building and a collapsing economy, the trustees throw Ito under the bus. Next up, combining the Pacific Film Archive with the Berkeley Art Museum and re-purposing the existing building on the site, followed by a review of proposals by interesting architects.

And so now we have Diller Scofidio + Renfro's sleek new design, a sweeping (or perhaps swooping) zinc structure placed gently into the 1930's printing plant with a projecting cafe and sidewalk LED displays. John King discusses the new design in today's Chronicle:

Everyone has a sidewalk cafe. We wanted an over-sidewalk cafe," said Charles Renfro. Renfro likens the zinc form to "a cipher - an enigmatic project that requires further prodding to investigate." Larry Rinder, the museum's director, calls it "bold and friendly." A Berkeley foodie might see a long-necked gourd. Here's to hoping any UC-bean counters whose desk this gourd might cross will be "bold and friendly" as well. Tell us what you think of this throwback to Adaptive Re-Use in the comments.
· Berkeley Art Museum Coverage [Curbed SF Archives]
· New Schematic Design [BAM/PFA]
· Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive Plan [John King/SF Gate]

Berkeley Art Museum

2120 Oxford Street, Berkeley, CA