Diller Scofidio + Renfro transforms old Art Deco building into a museum at UC Berkeley

The Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, which opened in late January, contains a theater, lab, and galleries. It was once a printing plant.

February 05, 2016 |
DS+R transforms old Art Deco building into a museum at the University of California, Berkeley

The BAMPFA, with the Art Deco building on the left and new stainless steel addition on the right. Photo: Iwan Baan (all images courtesy DS+R).

The Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA), a $112 million project that opened in late January, is a mix of old and new. 

One part is an adaptive reuse of an Art Deco printing plant from 1939. Interdisciplinary design firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, along with executive architect EHDD, transformed the former printing plant into the primary gallery spaces of the museum.

While the Press Building has as classical look, a sleek new silver structure was added onto it. The new addition houses a film theater, library, study center, and a cafe. 

The components total more than 83,000 sf, and a stainless steel ribbon wraps itself around the older structure, providing a visual link.

“The parts and pieces are intended to contrast with each other, but also to work together,” DS+R principal Charles Renfro said, according to the BAMPFA website.

The University of California at Berkeley museum has eight galleries with 25,000-sf of space, a theater, and an art lab. It holds 19,000 works of art and 17,500 films and videos.

The project is DS+R’s third building to open in California over the last year. The firm also designed The Broad Museum in Los Angeles and the McMurtry Art and Art History Building at Stanford University. 


The museum's main entrance. Photo: Iwan Baan.

Ground floor gallery. Photo: Elizabeth Daniels.

Corridor above the ground floor gallery. Photo: Elizabeth Daniels.

Aerial view of the BAMPFA. Photo: Iwan Baan.

Overlay Init