Hood Design Studio (HDS) will take a stab at revitalizing the famous terraced roof garden atop the Oakland Museum of California. The Kevin Roche-designed Brutalist structure has boasted a lush, 26,4000-square-foot landscape since it opened in 1969, and now the institution is looking to upgrade it for contemporary museum-goers. 

The Oakland-based HDS has designed a site-specific intervention that enhances the Dan Kiley-designed outdoor space. Set to break ground next month, the $20 million project will reevaluate the vegetation in the garden by adding native plants from all over California. Specifically, the design team will embed plants representing one of the four ecological regions in the state–desert, coastal forest, woodland, and the Mediterranean climate—on each of the terrace’s levels. Though the plantings might take 15 years to mature, HDS envisions them as lightly spilling over the edges of the site and changing color in tandem with the seasons.

Aerial sketch of rooftop landscape

Sketch showing an aerial view (Courtesy Hood Design Studio)

In addition to a revamped landscape, HDS plans to demolish the northern garden wall, which was not part of Kiley’s original design, and replace it with a row of trees. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaff told Artnet she thinks the change will create more space and open up the museum to the lakefront in downtown. Throughout the garden, HDS will integrate more seating as well as a permanent stage for performances. 

The Oakland Museum of California previously underwent an award-winning renovation from 2010-2012, that was handled by Mark Cavagnero Associates. The San-Francisco studio is working alongside HDS on the latest update to the seven-acre campus, and the roof garden is expected to be finished next fall. 

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