UC Berkeley Art Museum And Pacific Film Archive

by | 28. Jan 2016

Cultural | Project

Photo: Iwan Baan

By Kirsten Kiser

UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) opens its new building to the public on Sunday, January 31, 2016

The new BAMPFA will be the architectural and cultural centerpiece of downtown Berkeley. Combining serene spaces for viewing film and art with dynamic public areas, the building will inspire audiences for generations with its fresh, imaginative design and versatility.”
/BAMPFA Director Lawrence Rinder

UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) is located in downtown Berkeley at the intersection of Oxford and Center Streets, directly across from the UC Berkeley campus.

The new BAMPFA provides exemplary spaces for exhibitions and film screenings, as well as access to BAMPFA’s encyclopedic collections of art and film. The building contains two film theaters, a performance forum, four study centers for art and film, a reading room, an art-making lab, a cafe, and an outdoor LED screen and viewing plaza.


Photo: Iwan Baan


Photo: Iwan Baan

The design merges the old and new to create a permeable interface between the institution and the public.”

/Charles Renfro, partner at DS+R

The supple body of the new structure, draped between the original 1930s orthogonal buildings and snagged on their sharp corners, creates a dramatic public spine that begins as a cantilevered cafe marking the building’s entrance, and culminates in an indoor theater on the other end of the site.


Photo: Iwan Baan


Photo: Iwan Baan


Photo: Iwan Baan

Babette, BAMPFA’s popular cafe, cantilevers over Center Street, offering sweeping views toward the Golden Gate and the Berkeley hills; it also provides glimpses into the galleries and performance space.


Photo: Iwan Baan


Photo: Iwan Baan

Photo: Iwan Baan

The sculptural form of the theater volume reinterprets the 1930s Art Deco style of the press building in a contemporary language of ruled surfaces and precision-formed stainless steel.


Photo: Iwan Baan


Photo: Iwan Baan

The original north-facing sawtooth roof of the printing plant is retained, providing indirect natural light to the art galleries within. Windows along the Center Street facade have been enlarged, allowing passersby to look into the building.


Photo: Iwan Baan


Photo: Iwan Baan


Photo: Iwan Baan

Photo: Iwan Baan

At the Addison Street end, the new structure is integrated with a large outdoor LED screen and plaza for public screenings.


Photo: Iwan Baan

Master woodworker Paul Discoe fabricated joinery elements that add natural warmth to the building. The craftsman used wood that was salvaged from the Canary Island pine trees that were removed from the building site prior to construction.

The new home for BAMPFA leverages its location between downtown Berkeley and the UC campus by providing unprecedented visual and physical access to its programs for both visitors and casual passersby.”
/Charles Renfro, partner at DS+R.

BAMPFA’s inaugural exhibition, Architecture of Life, occupying all the spaces in the new building, explores the ways that architecture – as concept, metaphor, and practice – illuminates aspects of life experience: the nature of the self and psyche, the fundamental structures of reality, and the power of the imagination to reshape our world. The exhibition presents an international selection of over 250 works of art, architectural drawings and models, and scientific illustrations made over the past two thousand years.


Buckminster Fuller: 4D Tower: Time Interval 1 Meter, 1928. Gouache and graphite over positive Photostat on paper. Courtesy Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University & The Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller.

During the inaugural year, the new building in collaboration with international and local filmmakers, critics, special guests, and experts on film will share their love of cinema in the series Cinema Mon Amour.


Site Plan. Drawing courtesy Diller Scofidio + Renfro


Ground Level Plan. Drawing courtesy Diller Scofidio + Renfro


Lower Level Plan. Drawing courtesy Diller Scofidio + Renfro


Second Level Plan. Drawing courtesy Diller Scofidio + Renfro


Section Galleries. Drawing courtesy Diller Scofidio + Renfro


Section Cafe and Theater. Drawing courtesy Diller Scofidio + Renfro


East Elevation. 
Drawing courtesy Diller Scofidio + Renfro


CITYBerkeley, California