Berkeley, CA, June 20, 2014 — Construction is nearing midpoint at the downtown Berkeley site of the future home of the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA). Workers will soon be erecting the last of the steel beams that form the frame of this dynamic building. To celebrate this important milestone, BAM/PFA invites its Bay Area friends and neighbors to a “topping out” ceremony on Addison Street, between Shattuck Avenue and Oxford Street, on July 17, 2014 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Each attendee at the free event will have the opportunity to become part of the building’s history by signing one of the last beams before it is put into place. The block party will feature live music by New Orleans–style brass band Mission Delirium and comments by UC Berkeley Chancellor B. Nicholas Dirks, BAM/PFA Director Lawrence Rinder, City of Berkeley Vice Mayor Linda Maio, and Plant Construction President John B. Wilson, and more.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled to share the excitement of this moment with the public,” says Rinder. “We hope the local community will feel a great sense of pride in this building and know that they always belong at BAM/PFA. At this milestone moment, we welcome everyone to make their permanent mark on the structure itself.”
Scheduled to open in early 2016, the new BAM/PFA building is designed by the award–winning architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, famously responsible for New York City’s High Line elevated park; The Broad, currently under construction in downtown Los Angeles; and the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art. The new BAM/PFA building will anchor the Downtown Arts District with its nearly 400 film programs and twenty exhibitions yearly—the most active programming schedule of any university museum in the country. BAM/PFA’s new building project integrates an Art Deco–style former UC Berkeley printing press building at the corner of Oxford and Center Streets with a dynamic new structure that will extend north to Addison Street. BAM/PFA began planning for the new facility in 1997, when an engineering survey determined that the current Bancroft Way building does not meet seismic standards.
All major steel and concrete work on the lower level of the new building site has now been completed, and a majority of the building’s structural steel frame is also now visible. The sawtooth roof support, a signature design element of the printing plant that was removed temporarily to allow for new below-grade gallery excavation, has been returned to the site and restored in its place along Center Street. By the time of the topping out event, the concrete walls that will outline the back-of-house operations and loading dock areas will be poured. And in the coming months a concrete form will be poured to form the acoustic shell that will enclose the large film theater. That will be followed by installation of the stainless steel exterior, which will extend north from the cafe, which cantilevers above Center Street, to Addison Street where it will clad the exterior of the theater.
BAM/PFA New Building Topping Out Celebration When: Thursday, July 17, 2014; 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Where: Addison Street, between Shattuck Avenue and Oxford Street Support
About BAM/PFA Founded in 1963, the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) is UC Berkeley’s primary visual arts venue and among the largest university art museums in terms of size and audience in the United States. Internationally recognized for its art and film programming, BAM/PFA is a platform for cultural experiences that transform individuals, engage communities, and advance the local, national, and global discourse on art and ideas. BAM/PFA’s mission is “to inspire the imagination and ignite critical dialogue through art and film.”
BAM/PFA presents approximately twenty art exhibitions and 380 film programs each year. The museum’s collection of over 19,000 works of art includes important holdings of Neolithic Chinese ceramics, Ming and Qing Dynasty Chinese painting, Old Master works on paper, Italian Baroque painting, early American painting, Abstract Expressionist painting, contemporary photography, and video art. Its film archive contains over 16,000 films and videos, including the largest collection of Japanese cinema outside of Japan, Hollywood classics, and silent film, as well hundreds of thousands of articles, reviews, posters, and other ephemera related to the history of film, many of which are digitally scanned and accessible online. Information: 24-hour recorded message (510) 642-0808; fax (510) 642-4889; TDD (510) 642-8734.