Press Release

Oakland Museum of California to Reveal Mark Cavagnero Associates and Hood Design Studio Campus Renovation with Reopening June 18, 2021

San Francisco, CA


The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) announced today that it will unveil its renovation by Mark Cavagnero Associates (MCA) and Hood Design Studio next month when it reopens to the public on June 18, 2021. Featuring enhanced access to the multi-terraced campus, improved visitor amenities, and an updated and reinstalled garden, OMCA’s renovation expresses the Museum’s dedication to civic engagement. 

OMCA kicked off this renovation in September 2019, which marked the fiftieth anniversary of the Museum and its landmark Brutalist building, designed by Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates. As an institution that presents exhibitions and programs that illuminate diverse stories and communities, OMCA wanted to reflect this accessibility and inclusivity in its physical space. To better integrate the Museum within the community, MCA removed an exterior border wall facing Oakland’s Lake Merritt and created a new entrance on 12th Street to activate the museum campus at this major pedestrian corner. MCA also created direct entrances on the Museum’s 10th Street side to its café and public event space, and two new ADA-accessible ramps. The addition of a forty-foot window above this entry creates new sightlines with 10th Street, where OMCA hosts its popular Friday night events, and sees many passersby with its proximity to the BART and Laney College.

This renovation also includes an update of OMCA’s iconic terraced gardens, which span the Museum’s three stories. Originally designed by landscape architect Dan Kiley in collaboration with architect Kevin Roche, the gardens have been reimagined by Hood Design Studio with new, environmentally sensitive native plantings as free and accessible public gathering spaces. 

This marks MCA’s fourth occasion working with the Museum, each an advancement of OMCA’s mission to create connections to the community and improve gathering spaces. This ongoing collaboration began in 1999 with MCA’s development of a conceptual design to support the Museum’s evolving space and infrastructural needs. This masterplan was split into phases which included the addition of the Daryl Lillie Art Education Center; the creation of 5,200-square-feet of exhibition space and renovation of 94,000-square-feet of Art and History gallery spaces; the improvement of museum circulation; the renovation of a 280-seat auditorium; and the installation of an entry canopy over the Museum’s Oak Street entrance, ensuring a covered, connected gallery experience. 


View from inside OMCA's 12th St entrance, looking out towards Lake Merritt and Mr. Ishi sculpture by Peter Voulkos. ©2021 Tim Griffith. All rights reserved.

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