Since opening in 1969, the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) has been a local landmark devoted entirely to the art, history, and natural science of California. By the millennium, “the museum of the people” was in need of a space that supports its core mission to be inclusive and relevant to the people of Oakland and California. Mark Cavagnero Associates began working with OMCA in developing a detailed Space Needs Assessment and Program that culminated in a conceptual design and budget to address its evolving space and infrastructure requirements. The subsequent phases of the project have accomplished the most complex elements of the Master Plan. All renovation work uses a consistent language of stainless steel paneling and glass to create a modern visual that floats above the historic concrete structure. Clerestory glass wraps each of the new galleries on three sides and allows diffused natural daylight to fill the space. Improvements in visitor circulation offer clear points of entry and access to the museum. A new stainless steel entry canopy extends out to Oak Street, with new sky-lit canopies at the central stairway, providing covered circulation further interconnecting galleries and visitor experience. Other improvements in this phase include new ticketing positions at each level, an expanded museum store re-located to the second level, a renovated 280-seat auditorium, and planned upgrades to the restaurant to accommodate a new café
More recent design emphasizes OMCA's popular Friday Night events centered around 10th Street, which has catalyzed an energy that the museum is building upon. A new ramped entrance facing 10th Street will invite visitors to directly enter the new café that will serve the neighborhood even when the museum galleries are closed. The resulting renovations strengthen OMCA’s commitment as a neighborhood and community gathering space.