The Berkeley Art Museum is looking at recycling one of Berkeley’s 1930s building after plans to build a new museum, designed by “starchitect” Toyo Ito at an estimated cost of up to $200m, were scuppered for lack of funds.

The Architect’s Newspaper reports that the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive is considering revamping the 1939 printing plant that currently occupies the site intended for the new museum, at the intersection of Center and Oxford streets (pictured).

Museum director Laurence Rinder told the magazine that the plan is to renovate the old 20,000-square-foot building, which is currently abandoned and occupied by squatters, and build a new addition that will double its size. The museum board is expected to vote on the new plan in mid-February.

“It’s really an undiscovered gem, and another great part of the story is that it also happens to be a WPA project,” said Rinder of the building. Designed by San Francisco firm Masten & Hurd, the building was commissioned by the university and funded in part by the federal Works Progress Administration.

Read the full story here.

Update: UC Berkeley Facilities Services has been in touch to let us know that it is incorrect to say the printing plant they are intending to occupy is “currently abandoned and occupied by squatters”. “The building is indeed vacant,” they write, “but is secured, alarmed and monitored by the UC Police Department”. We are happy to make that clear. [2.22.10]


Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...