Noll & Tam Architects recently transformed the Berkeley YMCA - PG&E Teen Center - a collaborative reuse project - with the help of the YMCA Teen Task Force to ensure that the youth viewpoint was incorporated. When Pacific Gas & Electric donated an 8,000-square-foot decommissioned payment center across from Berkeley High School, it provided the ideal mix of opportunity for adaptive reuse. The design-build team transformed the 1964 concrete office building by opening it up with glazed storefronts, a new partial third story with roof deck, and flexible interior spaces. Bright colors reflect a youthful spirit.
The design intent was to transform an outdated utilitarian office building into a more visually active and accessible community asset that is architecturally appropriate to its important civic location. Since the building was donated by PG&E to the YMCA, the renovation is intended to reflect a collaboration committed to a sustainable design approach.
The design retains the original architectural lines of the existing building, in particular the strong vertical columns and the proportions of its main public face on Center Street, while making the overall building more vibrant and colorful to reflect the youthful energy of the Teen Center function. The existing building footprint and prominent columns largely remain the same. A new third floor, added to house the YMCA Metro administrative offices, is set back from Center Street, creating a location for a roof garden that overlooks Memorial Park.
Photography: David Wakely