Behind the Doors of Berkeley's Newest Cultural Hub

After 19 years of planning, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive reopens in their new Diller Scofidio + Renfro-designed home in downtown Berkeley.

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Today's a big day for the University of California Berkeley's singular Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive: the doors to its new Diller Scofidio + Renfro-designed home are opening—finally. The architectural firm best known for projects like The High Line in New York City and The Broad museum in L.A. have created a 48,000-square-foot addition to the Art Deco University of California printing plant in downtown Berkeley. The project has been in the works since 1997 when it was discovered that the museum's original home in Mario Ciampi's Brutalist structure dating back to 1970 was not up to seismic code (since then the film and art programs have operated out of separate annexes).

The museum's Center Street entrance
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Now, the art and film programming for the 450 screenings and 20 exhibitions they're planning to host annually are under one roof once again. Inaugurating the presentations at the new building will be the Architecture of Life exhibition, which explores how structures, both in concept and form, affect the experience of life with work by artists including Louise Bourgeois and Marcel Duchamp and architects like Buckminster Fuller and Toyo Ito. Film screenings will be chosen by the museum's past directors and include Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal, and there will be series dedicated to filmmakers Maurice Pialat, Eduardo Coutinho, and Nuri Bilge. It sure beats your Netflix queue, that's for sure.

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Now, here's a look inside the new museum:

Inside the galleries. For all below: Photographs by Iwan Baan. Courtesy of Diller Scofidio + Renfro; EHDD; and UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA)
A view from the new lobby toward the galleries and Barbro Osher Theater.
One of the large ground-floor galleries with a look into the second-floor cafe.
The museum cafe, Babette, has views of the Berkeley hills and also into the lower galleries and performance space. It will be accessible without admission.
The 232-seat Barbro Osher Theater, one of two theaters in the new museum. There are also two viewing booths, available by appointment.
The 232-seat Barbro Osher Theater, one of two theaters in the new museum. There are also two viewing booths, available by appointment.
The main corridor leading toward the Center Street entrance.
The second floor mezzanine leading into the cafe.

For more information, visit bampfa.org.

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