BAM/PFA selects Diller Scofidio + Renfro to design new building

Following a national search, the University of California, Berkeley, has chosen the world renowned, New York City-based design firm of Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) to design the new Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA). The new museum complex is targeted for completion by late 2014.

The announcement comes one day after BAM/PFA’s board of trustees endorsed the recommendation of DS+R from a field of 10 national firms by a BAM/PFA architect selection committee consisting of campus, museum and community representatives.DS+R will develop plans to repurpose the former UC Printing Building, located on Oxford Street facing the UC Berkeley central campus.

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Following a national search, the University of California, Berkeley, has chosen the world renowned, New York City-based design firm of Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) to design the new Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA). The new museum complex is targeted for completion by late 2014. The announcement comes one day after BAM/PFA's board of trustees endorsed the recommendation of DS+R from a field of 10 national firms by a BAM/PFA architect selection committee consisting of campus, museum and community representatives. map showing future site of BAM/PFADS+R will develop plans to repurpose the former UC Printing Building, located on Oxford Street facing the UC Berkeley central campus.

DS+R will develop plans to repurpose a 48,000-square-foot, art deco style printing plant and to integrate it with a new 50,000-square-foot structure on a site along Oxford Street, between Center and Addison streets in downtown Berkeley.

The new museum site will anchor Berkeley’s Addison Street Arts District and will link the campus and the active downtown arts and commerce districts. Just a block from the Downtown Berkeley BART station and across the street from the central campus, the new museum’s location will increase public accessibility to BAM/PFA’s events, activities and collections, including more than 16,000 works of art and 14,000 films and videos.

“Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s commitment to integrating architecture with contemporary culture and civic life perfectly aligns with BAM/PFA’s core mission: to ignite critical dialog and inspire the imagination through art and film,” said Lawrence Rinder, director of BAM/PFA. “We are thrilled to be collaborating with DS+R to design and build a new museum that will deepen our audiences’ dynamic engagement with art and which will provide educational opportunities for Berkeley, the Bay Area and the global community.”

Rinder noted that the selection committee had focused on the firms’ ability to support BAM/PFA’s mission and program, provide exceptional gallery and film experiences, engage with historical buildings, utilize environmentally sustainable technologies and design, and meet strict cost guidelines.

“Their intelligence and resourcefulness make Diller Scofidio + Renfro an outstanding choice for this important project,” said UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau. “We welcome them to the campus community and look forward to the creative dialogue to come.”

The New York Times, Los Angeles Times and The New Yorker all have identified two of DS+R’s projects in New York City — Alice Tully Hall and the High Line — as among the most culturally significant projects of 2009. The firm’s redesign of the Alice Tully Hall concert facility and its 95,000-square-foot expansion of The Juilliard School are part of DS+R’s ongoing work for Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. The High Line, an urban park on a 1.5-mile stretch of elevated railway in New York City’s Chelsea District, was completed last year, designed in collaboration with James Corner Field Operations. A second phase is underway.

In 2006, the firm completed another significant cultural project, Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art, which was designed to integrate civic and cultural experiences while providing a contemplative space that reveals shifting perspectives of the waterfront. DS+R’s current projects include “Bubble,” an inflatable event space planned for the cylindrical courtyard of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and the Museum of Image & Sound in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which is conceived as an extension of the Copacabana Beach promenade designed by Roberto Burle Marx.

The DS+R studio was founded in 1979 by Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio; Charles Renfro became a partner in 2004. Diller and Scofidio were the first in the field of architecture to receive a MacArthur Foundation Fellow (“genius”) Award, which recognized their commitment to integrating architecture with issues of contemporary culture. The two architects were inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2008 and recently were named Fellows of the Royal Institute of British Architects.

DS+R will work directly with EHDD of San Francisco, a nationally recognized architecture firm and the local firm of record for the BAM/PFA project.

A structural analysis found that BAM/PFA’s current space on Bancroft Way is seismically inadequate. A subsequent seismic bracing of the museum has enabled BAM/PFA to remain open temporarily during the planning for a new facility.

The Japanese architectural firm of Toyo Ito & Associates was brought on in 2006 to design a new art museum on the university’s downtown site. However, economic uncertainly forced the campus in 2009 to explore alternatives to Ito’s design.

The budget for the new downtown museum is $95 million, nearly half of which has been raised. Funds for the new museum project will come from private sources and are being raised by BAM/PFA in partnership with the campus.

For more information, see the BAM/PFA New Building Project website.