The Daily Californian Online

Art Museum Officials Seek Design Architect

By Stephanie Baer
Contributing Writer
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Category: News > Development and Capital Projects

After discarding a design plan that was deemed too expensive, officials from the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive are in the process of selecting an architecture firm to revitalize the museum's new Downtown location, the former UC Printing Plant.

The museum, currently located at Bancroft Way and College Avenue, has been ready to move to a new location since 1999, when the building was deemed seismically unsafe.

Museum officials are looking for a design architect to team up with the executive architect, the San Francisco-based EHDD Architecture, which ensures compliance with city building codes and manages the project on a day-to-day basis, according to Christine Shaff, communications director for UC Berkeley facilities services.

Lawrence Rinder, director of the museum, said design and construction expenses are estimated at $85 million, nearly half of the projected $145 million for Japanese architect Toyo Ito's design plan to build an entirely new museum.

Rinder said it is unlikely the new design will retain elements of Ito's design because of the location's limited space and the museum's budget.

Ten firms were selected to submit design applications with the understanding that the design proposal calls for the repurposing of the existing plant as well as the construction of an adjacent building, totaling roughly 100,000 square feet, the size of the current museum, Rinder said.

Museum officials hope to select a firm by the end of June, Rinder said.

Berkeley City Councilmember Kriss Worthington said reusing the existing building will dramatically influence the new museum's design, which will have to be far more cost-sensitive.

"Hopefully it will still have some pizazz," Worthington said.

Rinder said museum officials are expected to finalize the design by the end of this year, but at this point he does not know when construction will commence.

Previously, the new museum was scheduled to be completed by 2013, but Rinder said the project will likely be finished sometime in 2014.

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