Before buildings can be regenerated, it is essential that they are suitably propped and supported so they are safe to work on. Temporary works will need to be installed to help retain the stability of the structure. This can be particularly challenging in buildings with unusual layouts. In some cases, the architectural touches that make the building special can cause the biggest problems during regeneration because they need extensive structural propping systems before any work can take place.
One example of this is the UC Berkley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive in California. The Brutalist building was designed by architect Mario Ciampi in 1970 and was praised for its unique design. It is likened to a deck of cards that has been fanned out, giving it an impressive form and a unique interior.
However, in the era that the building was designed and constructed, little thought was given to the challenges it would face in the future, including damage caused by seismic activity. In 1997 the structure was rated as being very poor in terms of defence against seismic issues. To retain the structure, propping had to be installed to increase stability, especially in the galleries.
The former museum now stands empty following the relocation of the film archive and the construction of a new Art Museum in downtown Berkley designed by Diller Scofidio & Renfro. Major regeneration efforts are being made and there are a number of different ideas in the pipeline, but the stability issues are a major stumbling block. It is estimated that it may cost as much as $25 million to repair and retool the building.
This is a great example of how difficult it can be to retain and regenerate unique properties, especially those built in areas where additional stability is necessary. It will be interesting to see what becomes of the building in the future and what kind of temporary works are used to retain the structure whilst the work is done. A flexible system like Slim or Mega-Shore is the most likely because of the unique layout and load demands.