Oakland Museum of California

Hailed for its bold architecture and careful integration into the surrounding park, the Oakland Museum of California has three main levels and multiple roof decks spread out over five city blocks. The building was originally designed in 1969 by Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo Associates. In 2005, the landmark was slated for renovation and expansion with Auerbach Glasow providing architectural lighting design for the public spaces, art, history, natural sciences and rotating galleries.

In a conscious effort to respect the building’s powerful exposed concrete structure, the firm designed elegant lighting details that juxtapose light and airy elements against the building’s massive proportions. The result is beautifully integrated illumination that creates a previously unknown intimacy in the Oakland Museum visitor experience.

The overall renovation and expansion design goals were achieved: to more clearly identify entrances, bring shelter to exterior stairs while keeping a sense of openness, meet code requirements, create drama in previously dull galleries and define modern new additions, all without adding bulk.

The project has enabled the museum to make changes and rearticulate its original mission as the “people’s museum”; artifacts and artwork have been rearranged, multi-lingual labels added to exhibits and feedback booths have been installed.

Architect: Mark Cavagnero Associates
Size: 90,000 SF
Cost: $56,200,000
Completion: 2011