From Modern to More Modern - Page 2

Oakland Museum of California plumbs its mid-century design roots in $15M remodel
Fridays on the Homefront
OMCA's new entrance along Oak Street includes new native plantings along the terraces. Rendering courtesy Hood Design Studio

The first phase of construction is slated for completion in late summer or fall 2020, too late for the 'All In' gala celebration in March. The second phase will focus on removing a border wall on the site's north side so that the campus is more open visually and accessibly to Lake Merritt.

In addition to the café expansion, the initial phase includes the addition of a new outdoor stage in the terraced garden area.

"Part of the reason we wanted to do the permanent stage is the [existing] amphitheater has limited seating," said Wright. "We're just kind of growing and expanding out of that space."

Fridays on the Homefront
Along the Museum's 10th Street side, alterations will be made to provide direct entry into OMCA's café (above) and public event space, to create better pedestrian access, and improve the museum's outdoor gathering spaces. Rendering courtesy Mark Cavagnero Associates

Originally designed by Dan Kiley, the garden area is already a popular, even iconic part of the museum, but not built to last.

"A lot of that was non-native plantings that were not made to have a long life," explained the spokeswoman.

To remodel it with native plants, the museum enlisted landscape architect Walter Hood of Hood Design Studio, recently awarded a MacArthur Fellowship 'Genius Grant.'

"He's been a really dynamic landscape architect that we're really excited to work with," Wright said of the Oakland-based designer.

Fridays on the Homefront
OMCA's renovations will include a new permanent stage in the gardens, supporting the museum's expanded outdoor performance, music, and film programs, as above. Rendering courtesy Hood Design Studio

"The intention is that each level [of the museum] be its own ecosystem," she said, adding that the bottom level will be coastal forest and the top terrace Mediterranean, in part to blend with existing olive trees.

With the intent to "make the gardens their own exhibit themself," Wright said, the longstanding sculpture feature is also being revisioned and expanded to include two-dozen renowned artists associated with California. That move would incorporate pieces by Ruth Asawa, Bruce Beasley, Beniamino Bufano, Mark de Suvero, Viola Frey, George Rickey, Peter Voulkos, and others.

Like the renovation project and the landmark site itself, the sculpture garden takes the vision of numerous modern-influenced designers and, in Wright's words last week, enlists them to "emphasize that we're not just a museum."