The Museum and the City: Reimagining the Oakland Museum of California and Its Neighborhoods: An Interdisciplinary Studio sponsored by the Global Urban Humanities Initiative
LDARCH C203/ CY PLAN243 / Art Practice 230
MW 2-6 pm
Wurster 315D
Professor Walter Hood

Applications due August 19, 2016
All UC Berkeley Master of Landscape Architecture students who are required to take LDARCHC203 and Master of City Planning students required to take a studio will be admitted without application. Other students (including PhD students in LAEP and DCRP) will be admitted to the course on the basis of their applications, with selection criteria designed to ensure a diverse mix of disciplines.

This graduate-level studio course will provide an opportunity for students from the arts and humanities, the environmental design disciplines, and other divisions and schools across campus to work together to investigate the relationship of a major cultural institution to its urban surroundings, and to propose physical and programmatic changes to those relationships.

The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) is a downtown institution with deep local roots, a diverse patronage, and a mission to serve as a place for community dialogue, knowledge and education. It sits on the edge of Lake Merritt, close to Oakland’s Civic Center, and is surrounded by ethnically diverse, rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods. Districts near the museum include Chinatown, Lakeside, Downtown, and Uptown. Although the museum was established in response to progressive political movements of the 1960s, its physically fortresslike relationship to its surroundings is at odds with its mission.

Working with OMCA as well as the city of Oakland, Laney College, and SPUR Oakland, students will create art and design interventions for the museum’s surrounding neighborhoods. The purpose of these interventions is to support cultural expression that does not promote displacement but rather celebrates the history and current creative resources of these areas and empowers local residents by involving them directly in museum programs.

These interventions, to be designed and prototyped by the research studio in collaboration with local organizations and residents, will include diverse forms: material, narrative, visual, and poetic. At the conclusion of the research studio, OMCA will mount a ‘prototyping festival’ to allow residents to interact and react to the intervention ideas developed by the studio.

Students from all departments are welcome, and assignments will be designed to allow participants with different backgrounds to use skills in writing, interviewing, drawing, analyzing, photographing, designing, building, etc. to create collaborative work products.

The course will be taught by Walter Hood, Professor of Landscape Architecture, with participation by faculty from the Arts & Humanities Division as well as by creative leaders in the community.

The course is part of the Global Urban Humanities Initiative, which studies global cities by combining methods from architecture, landscape architecture, city planning, and urban design with approaches from the arts and humanities. The Initiative supports new interdisciplinary courses, symposia, exhibitions, and publications, and is made possible with the generous support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


Students will be admitted to the course on the basis of their applications, with selection criteria designed to ensure a diverse mix of disciplines. Application forms and instructions are available here and are due at 5 p.m. on Friday, August 19. All applicants are also required to attend an information session at 5 p.m. on Monday, August 22 at 5 PM. Students chosen will be informed by 9 a.m. on Tuesday, August 23 and must confirm they will enroll by noon that day to allow for alternates in case of non-enrollment. The first day of class is Wednesday, August 24.

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