The YMCA-PG&E Teen Center in downtown Berkeley, designed by Noll & Tam Architects, was a winner in the AIASF awards

The San Francisco chapter of the American Institute of Architects recently announced the winners of its 2012 Design Awards, and four Berkeley projects were awarded in the progam, from a total of 26 across the Bay Area.

Mark Cavagnero Associates won a Merit Award in the Interior Architecture category for their renovation of UC Berkeley’s Durant Hall. Leger Wanaselja Architecture received a Merit award in the Energy and Sustainability category for the partners’ own home, the McGee Salvage House on McGee Street in central Berkeley. In the same category, Noll & Tam Architects won a citation award for the YMCA-PG&E Teen Center in downtown Berkeley. And Diller Scofidio + Renfro/EHDD Architecture received a Merit award in the Unbuilt Design category for their designs for the forthcoming Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive.

John King, Urban Design Critic at the San Francisco Chronicle said Berkeley did particularly well this year. “This is a large number for Berkeley.” But he cautions that this doesn’t necessarily mean an affirmation of shifting Berkeley design trends.

“Durant Hall is as fastidious and gentle a restoration/renovation as there could be — but it does signal the jury’s respect for creative responses to conditions. Noll & Tam did a wonderfully creative job turning a nondescript modern box into an eye-catching contemporary presence. Leger Wanaselja’s work is so inventive and unusual it deserves to attract attention. As for BAM/PFA, that sort of project is catnip for a jury — now let’s cross our fingers and see what comes next,” he said.

Read about each of the projects, as detailed by AIASF, below.

At the heart of the UC Berkeley campus, Durant Hall, the century-old, historic four-story granite building, has been converted to house the administrative offices for the College of Letters and Sciences. Incorporating structural improvements, contemporary material upgrades, and improved accessibility, the 18,000-square-foot renovation transforms Durant Hall into a contemporary setting befitting the deans and administrators of the university’s largest college, while also preserving the historic landmark building’s architectural legacy.

The McGee Salvage House is one of the most thoroughly green houses in the Bay Area. It is a 1,190 square-foot, 2 bedroom urban infill, newly constructed single family home in the heart of one of Berkeley’s oldest residential neighborhoods, near the downtown core. While achieving high energy performance goals, meticulous attention was also paid to aesthetics and to the toxicity and embodied energy of materials, relying heavily on salvaged materials to achieve these goals. The house was completed in 2010. Cost of construction was typical of other custom wood frame homes of this size.

The YMCA of the Central Bay Area sought to establish a Teen Center in downtown Berkeley. When Pacific Gas & Electric donated an 8,000-square-foot decommissioned payment center across from Berkeley High School, it provided the ideal opportunity for adaptive reuse. The design-build team transformed the 1964 concrete office building by opening it up with glazed storefronts, a new partial third story with roof deck, and flexible interior spaces. Bright colors reflect a youthful spirit. The $4.5 million renovation, completed in November 2010, comprises 13,500 square feet, is construction type IIIB, and is a combination of A-3 and B occupancy.

The Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive unites two distinct institutions and buildings into a new cohesive whole. The new facility – integrating an existing art deco building, an industrial shed, and a new structure – is a bridge institution, balancing civic and university interests and serving as a nexus of critical discourse for the university and surrounding community.

Winning projects are featured online at AIASF. All award-winning projects will also be on view at the AIA San Francisco Center for Architecture & Design Gallery (130 Sutter Street, Suite 600, San Francisco) May 24 – July 19, 2012. Complete information on the winning projects of the 2012 AIA San Francisco Design Awards program can be found at

Room with a view: Designer charts new Berkeley buildings [04.03.12]
New Berkeley Art Museum mixes old with eye-catching new [09.16.11]
Five Berkeley homes feature on new architecture tour [07.25.11]
Berkeley architect built, rebuilt Frank Lloyd Wright home [07.19.11]
Sustainable, stylish, affirming: Berkeley’s new Teen Center [05.25.11]

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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...