Thursday, August 17, 2006

Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive's New Building Project: A Cultural Learning Lab For The 21st Century

The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) is boldly creating the preeminent university art museum for the twenty-first century. When a 1997 campus-wide analysis found that BAM/PFA’s existing facility did not meet current seismic codes, a critical opportunity arose to build a new home for its acclaimed art and film programs and collections—both challenging and enabling BAM/PFA trustees and staff to expand the institution’s vision and offerings.

Centrally located between downtown Berkeley’s BART station and the University’s western entrance, the new museum will become a physical and metaphorical gateway connecting the campus and community to great works of art and film spanning eras and cultures. As a cultural learning laboratory, it will inspire artistic experimentation and initiate dialogue among those new to the visual arts and those with a lifelong passion, helping us all develop novel ways of understanding and seeing critically. A model for university art museums, this magnetic destination will bring together artists, the University and Bay Area communities, and art and film enthusiasts from around the globe.

In fall 2005, the University’s executive vice chancellor and provost appointed a screening committee to review architects recommended by BAM/PFA trustees, professional colleagues, and others. Approximately 220 firms from around the world were invited to submit their qualifications, and 141 firms responded. A separate architect selection committee conducted several reviews and chose the five firms noted below for consideration. This spring, the committee visited these architects’ key projects. A short-list will be proposed to BAM/PFA’s Board of Trustees, who will, in turn, make recommendations to UC Berkeley’s chancellor. The architect is expected to be announced in fall 2006.

Text and photo credit: BAM/PFA Board of Trustees. With thanks.


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