Architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro have breathed fresh life into a 1930s Art Deco printing press, transforming it into a new base for the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) in California.
The adaptive reuse project included retaining the 48,000 sq ft building’s original columns and steel structure, as well as its saw-toothed roof to maximise natural light in gallery spaces.
Diller Scofidio + Renfro have also designed a new sibling for the building – a 35,000 sq ft structure, with a profile resembling a humpback whale. It will house two film theatres.
‘The design merges the old and new to create a permeable interface between the institution and the public,’ says Charles Renfro, a partner at the firm. ‘The sculptural form of the theatre volume reinterprets the 1930s Art Deco style of the press building in a contemporary language of ruled surfaces and precision-formed stainless steel.’
Diller Scofidio +Renfro dug into the ground of the existing printing plant to add a basement level and enlarged the street-facing façade to allow passersby to gaze inside. A 60 x 25 ft ‘Art Wall’ takes centre stage within the new complex, and the museum will commission artists around the world to create murals on the surface.
BAMPFA was forced to move from its previous building at the Brutalist Woo Hon Fai Hall, designed by architect Mario Ciampi, because it didn’t comply with earthquake safety standards in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Its new home opens next week with an inaugural exhibition, Architecture of Life, exploring how the discipline shapes our lives.