Plans announced for new BAM/PFA

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SEPTEMBER 18, 2011

This past Wednesday, the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, currently located in two separate facilities on Bancroft Way, held a community open house to unveil the prototype for its new location. The plan has been underway since 1997 when the current BAM building was deemed seismically unsound and PFA was relocated to the Hearst Annex at Bancroft and Bowditch.

The project will be helmed by New York City-based Diller Scofidio + Renfro, best known for revamping the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston and the Juilliard School located at the Lincoln Center in NYC. The architecture firm has garnered a MacArthur Prize and is also known for their mysterious Blur Building in Switzlerland, a video installation of which I saw at the New York MoMA a few summers ago.

The new facility will take the place of a refurbished printing plant at 2120 Oxford Street, in the heart of Downtown and Berkeley’s burgeoning arts district. Neighbors include the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, the Aurora Theatre and other harbingers of culture in the district.

An interdisciplinary, multipurpose structure, the new BAM/PFA will boast an outdoor plaza. A section of the museum will be available without admission, including the lobby and the MATRIX gallery. A windowless portion of the printing plant will be draped with folds of zinc. The new PFA theater will include a screen as large as 15-by-36 feet. A detailed description of the new plan and its ambitious, innovative structure is available at the BAM/PFA website.

Of the $100 million campaign, BAM/PFA has received $65 million in funds so far.

Image credit: Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Contact Ryan Lattanzio at 


SEPTEMBER 18, 2011