Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) Design Tour
About the Museum
“Small Change – Big Impact” is how the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) describes the recent garden and café renovation. Through a series of reductive moves the project opens the Museum to the surrounding neighborhood strengthening engagement and access while supporting the Museum’s mission as a community-centered organization.
Kevin Roche stated in an email from 2011 that the original vision for the museum was to “…be entirely open in all directions.” Whether due to the civil unrest in Oakland during the late 1960’s or other programmatic requirements, the result was an inwardly focused building and garden complex enclosed by concrete walls separating it from Lake Merritt and the surrounding neighborhood.
The renovation focused entirely on opening and integrating the building with the City of Oakland and adding infrastructure to support the museum’s community-based programs. The new entry at 12th Street connects the museum to Lake Merritt across the street which had until now been invisible. The planting renovation introduces a new living collection of native plant species to the museums exhibits, extending opportunities for interpretive content. Access to the garden and extensive outdoor art collection is free, and with the renovation, more universally accessible to all.
On the Museum’s west side, a new large window cuts through the solid façade to the café. A new ramp connecting the café directly to the public way invites foot traffic from the BART station and Laney College across 10th Street, reinforcing access by public transit. OMCA is committed to representing and telling the stories of Oakland and California.
The entire process from the garden master planning through the final design was informed by stakeholders and the community through workshops, surveys, and meetings. In addition, the project offered opportunities for local businesses participation, further fostering connections to the Oakland community.
About Your Tour Guides
Mark Cavagnero, FAIA
Mark Cavagnero, FAIA, founded Mark Cavagnero Associates in 1988, and has guided its growth into a design-centered practice serving clients internationally. His work embodies a timeless quality, visible in a broad range of renovation and new construction work. Mark is focused on creating tangible spaces that encourage the ephemeral aspects of human interactions.
As the founding principal of the firm, Mark provides leadership over the design of all projects within the office. He brings over three decades of expertise in the planning, design and construction and has been recognized for seamlessly integrating environmental, cultural and contextual strategies to curate a holistic design approach, through various building types from education, museums, civic buildings, theaters, and residential buildings.
His projects are known for careful attention to balanced natural light through all parts of the building, in support of activities and wellness of the occupants. Mark Cavagnero Associates’ approach in design has garnered the firm more than 100 awards from international, national, state, and local organizations.
Mark has personally been recognized with the AIACC 2010 Distinguished Practice Award and the AIACC 2015 Maybeck Award for outstanding lifetime achievement, among many other accolades. He is currently engaged on projects throughout North America, including the new San Francisco Moscone Center Expansion; San Francisco Conservatory of Music; the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences, Quest Diagnostics headquarters in New York; as well as projects for Salesforce spanning across Asia, North America and Europe.
Felicia Dunham is a Senior Associate at Mark Cavagnero Associates. She joined the firm in 2008 and brings 30 years of experience on public and commercial projects, such as the California Academy of Sciences, Oakland Museum of California, Whole Foods Market, Diane B. Wilsey Center for Opera, San Francisco Justice Facilities Master Plan, SFJAZZ Center, and the Hamlin School expansion. She is adept at managing large scale projects and consultant teams and highly sensitive in integration of historic and new building elements in recognizing the value of place making. Her portfolio of work includes various LEED Certified projects, achieving Silver, Gold and Platinum Certification.
Lori Fogarty is the Director and CEO of the Oakland Museum of California, a multidisciplinary museum that brings together collections of art, history, and natural sciences to tell the extraordinary stories of California and its people. Since 2006, Lori has worked to oversee and guide all Museum programmatic and administrative operations and has transitioned OMCA from a public/private cultural institution supported by the City of Oakland and the Oakland Museum of California Foundation to an independent non-profit organization with an innovative new organizational structure. Lori also led the Museum’s $63 million “Museum of California” campaign and building renovation project, which has included the reinstallation of 90,000 square feet of gallery space as well as the first major enhancement to the Museum’s landmark building. She led the “All In: Campaign for OMCA,” an $85 million comprehensive campaign to support programs and operations, endowment and investment fund growth, and capital improvements to the Museum’s seven-acre campus. Lori has spearheaded OMCA’s efforts to place the visitor at the center of the Museum experience and focus the institution’s efforts around community engagement and social impact. She received major recognition in the museum and non-profit field as the recipient of the John Cotton Dana Award for Leadership from the American Alliance of Museums and the Hank Russo Outstanding Fundraising Professional Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Prior to her current position, Lori was executive director of the Bay Area Discovery Museum and was senior deputy director of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Lori is on the Board of the Association of Art Museum Directors.