Posted on June 1, 2011

Berkeley: Critic Praises “Dynamic” Redesign as PG&E Office Becomes Teen Center

John King, the architecture critic for the San Francisco Chronicle recently described the YMCA-PG&E Teen Center as “the most dynamic new building in Berkeley.”

YMCA-PG&E Teen Center in Berkeley

After: The new YMCA-PG&E Teen Center is inviting and appealing. Photo courtesy of David Wakely

King, who writes a weekly column called Place, took note of building’s details as well as the its lime-green exterior paint.

“That color was the kids’ idea,” Janet Tam of the firm Noll & Tam, architects for the project, told King. The facility opened in January.

King wrote: “The transformation of this former Pacific Gas & Electric Co. office isn’t historic preservation. Think of it in different terms: as a case study in how buildings can be reused in ways that not only draw on the past but also signal the future.”

YMCA-PG&E Teen Center in Berkeley

Before: A PG&E office in Berkeley opened in 1964. Photo courtesy of Noll & Tam

The building opened in 1964; it was “straightforward and strong,” King wrote. In 2007, PG&E donated the building that was no longer in use to the YMCA of the Central Bay Area. The donation of the 8,000-square-foot, $2.1 million building was the largest charitable contribution ever made by PG&E.

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"PG&E" refers to Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation.
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