Oakland Museum of California

  • Prize
    Honorable Mention in Architectural Design / Urban planning: large integrated projects
  • Company/Firm
    Mark Cavagnero Associates
  • Lead Designer
    Mark Cavagnero
  • Design Team
    Felicia Dunham, Tammy Lepham
  • Architect
    Mark Cavagnero Associates
  • Interior Designer
    Mark Cavagnero Associates
  • Const. Company
    Cahill Contractors
  • Location
    Oakland, CA
  • Project Date
    April, 2021

The Oakland Museum of California opened in 1969 with a backdrop of historic civil rights events. The brutalist landmark museum, designed by Kevin Roche, was entirely enclosed by concrete walls surrounding the 4-block site. The program for the recent renovation was to “break the box” establishing new connections between the museum and the surrounding neighborhood to promote more equitable access to one of Oakland’s premier public spaces and outdoor art collections.
Mark Cavagnero Associates worked collaboratively with Hood Design Studio of Oakland creating a new entry to the re-envisioned garden at the northeast corner of the property finally connecting the museum to Lake Merritt directly across the street. The garden and 10th Street improvements support OMCA’s free and popular Friday Night events, which have catalyzed the museum’s role as a hub of community engagement and activity. The new garden stage and 10th Street Amphitheater improvements facilitate these and other community events.
Every aspect of the renovation supports OMCA’s mission of inclusion and diversity. Instead of putting up walls, OMCA is opening them up to embrace their diverse audience.

Mark Cavagnero Associates is a San Francisco-based architecture firm built on a foundation of serving civic, cultural and institutional clients. We approach each project with a focus on the immediate and greater community it will serve. The firm has completed a wide range of architectural and master planning projects based on this ideal, including large and small scale institutional, non-profit, and commercial projects. The firm provides a full range of services, from programming, master planning, site planning and conceptual design, through construction documents and administration.

Other prizes
In addition to being well-received by users and the community, our work has garnered more than 100 design awards from local, state, national and international organizations. Mark Cavagnero Associates Architects was honored with the AIA California Council’s 2012 Firm of the Year Award, the highest honor that the organization bestows upon a firm, recognizing distinguished architecture and a culture of mentoring the next generation of architects. The firm ranks in Architect magazine’s 2015 The Architect 50, the ranking of the top 50 architectural firms in the country. Mark Cavagnero was personally honored with the AIA California Council’s 2015 Maybeck Award, a lifetime achievement award often referred to as the “Gold Medal of California.” In every project we design we strive for logic, strength, functional excellence, clarity, sustainability, economical use of materials, and, of course, beauty. Ultimately, the challenge of our work is to build something that authentically represents our core values and innate beliefs: fairness, stability, strength, and openness.