Three architecture firms to submit proposals for new Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

The University of California, Berkeley, announced today (Tuesday, April 27) the selection of three architecture firms to submit design proposals for the new Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA).

The three firms chosen from a field of 10 are Ann Beha Architects of Boston; Diller Scofidio + Renfro of New York; and Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects of New York, the architectural firm for UC Berkeley’s C.V. Starr East Asian Library. BAM/PFA’s Board of Trustees is expected to endorse the selected firm from among the three in June.

“We are confident that these firms have the ability to deliver an architecturally exciting building that expresses BAM/PFA’s program, identity, mission and aspirations,” said BAM/PFA Director Lawrence Rinder. “Each of these architects has built exceptional museums as well as successful and creative adaptation projects.”

The selected architect will work directly with EHDD, a nationally-recognized architectural firm and local firm of record, to repurpose a former printing plant at 2120 Oxford St. in downtown Berkeley. The building was occupied by UC Printing Services. Built in 1939, the 47,857-square-foot structure has been vacant since 2005. The new museum project also includes a 50,000-square-foot addition, to be constructed adjacent to the existing building.

“The creation of a new home for the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive continues to be a top priority for UC Berkeley,” said UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau. “With the selection of these three outstanding design firms, UC Berkeley is one step closer to advancing its longstanding commitment to the visual arts and to engagement with our broader community.”

A structural analysis found that BAM/PFA’s current space on Bancroft Way is seismically inadequate. A partial seismic retrofitting of the museum in 2001 has enabled BAM/PFA to stay open during planning for a new facility. Toyo Ito & Associates, a Japanese architecture firm known for its innovative concepts and structural approaches, was brought on in 2006 to design a new museum on part of the site occupied by the printing plant building. Lingering economic uncertainly compelled the campus to modify its plans late in 2009 and to explore alternatives to the Ito design.

The new downtown museum project has an expected completion date of late 2014.