Before new Berkeley art museum can rise, a demolition

A UC Berkeley parking garage at Oxford and Addison is being torn down as part of the construction of a new BAM/PFA. Photo: Tracey Taylor

Major demolition is under way in downtown Berkeley on the site of the new location for the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.

The UC Berkeley-owned parking lot at 2150 Addison Street, on the corner of Oxford Street, is being torn down, and several large trees have been removed, to clear the ground for construction.

The UC Berkeley-owned museum is creating a new home, designed by New York firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, from a 1930s former printing plant owned by the university. The new BMA/PFA is slated to open in the summer of 2016, bringing more bold contemporary architecture into the heart of Berkeley.

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BAM/PFA needed to raise $100 million for the project which it has been planning since 1997 when it was found that its current building on Bancroft Way — built in 1970 and designed by Mario Ciampi — did not meet present-day seismic standards.


The last major demolition site in downtown Berkeley was also Cal-related. The old Department of Health Services building at 2151 Berkeley Way was brought down three years ago to allow for the construction of UC Berkeley’s Biosciences Energy building, which this month won a design excellence award.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s plans for BAM/PFA include  a sculptural zinc-clad armature that will stretch across the museum from Center St. to Addison, and a café which will project out of the main structure over the museum’s Center St. entrance.

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A rendering of the design for the Oxford-Addison corner of the new BAM/PFA by architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Image courtesy: BAM/PFA

Local business groups have expressed concern about how the loss of the University Hall parking lot, which held 234 cars, will impact parking downtown. In addition to that loss, UC is planning to build a new aquatics center on the site of a 230-space parking lot next to the Tang Center at 2222 Bancroft Way, not far from Oxford.

UC has rented 50 spaces in the Chase Building for staff and faculty to use, according to Seamus Wilmot, director of parking and transportation. It has added stacked parking to the Ellsworth lot. The Allston Way garage is also offering discounted parking to UC employees.

Related:
New aquatics center raises parking, planning concerns [04.04.13] 
Berkeley museum chief: “New space good for town and gown” [02.13.13]
Work begins on new Berkeley Art Museum, to open in 2016 [02.12.13]
Berkeley Art Museum’s new architect talks bubbles, chops [05.04.12]
Palpable possibilities: Berkeley Art Museum’s home awaits [01.25.12]
New Berkeley Art Museum mixes old with eye-catching new [09.16.11]
Berkeley Art Museum selects architects for new home [06.24.11]
UC Berkeley stands by pledge to fund new art museum [11.25.10]
Berkeley Art Museum plans to revamp printing plant [01.27.10]
What might have been [11.24.09]

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