Sneak peek at new Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

With the opening of the new Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive not quite two months away, the Berkeleyside news site is offering up a preview of BAMPFA’s plans and progress at its new downtown site.

The Jan. 31 opening of the new Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive in downtown Berkeley is clear in this photo by Photo: Iwan Baan/courtesy Diller Scofidio + Renfro and BAMPFA.

The Jan. 31 opening of the new Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive in downtown Berkeley is clear in this photo by Photo: Iwan Baan/courtesy Diller Scofidio + Renfro and BAMPFA.

“Anyone who passes through downtown regularly will have, over the past months, had the chance to observe the gradual transformation of the Deco Moderne former UC Berkeley printing plant into a striking structure sporting a gleaming silver roof, a cantilevered section that juts out over what will be the museum’s entrance on Center Street, and a gaping rectangular space on the Addison Street side that will soon be a giant canvas for screening images and films,” writes Berkeleyside‘s Tracey Taylor.

She notes that the museum features large white exhibition spaces, open-plan areas for public events or for just hanging out and a café. Although 20 percent smaller than it predecessor, the Mario Ciampi-designed concrete structure on Bancroft Way, the new museum designed by architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro has more usable space, with 25,000 square feet of gallery space in its total of 83,000 square feet, she writes.

Museum director Lawrence Rinder says the museum and the film program haven’t been together under one roof since 1999, and the new BAMPFA’s theater is now optimally designed for film, with a world-class sound system donated by Berkeley’s Meyer Sound.

The public can visit the new digs on Sunday, Jan. 31, at a free, all-day open house. Regular programming will begin on Wednesday, Feb. 3.

Read more on Berkeleyside.