• Courtesy of Bruce Damonte

  • Courtesy of Bruce Damonte

  • Courtesy of Bruce Damonte

  • Courtesy of Bruce Damonte

Bakar BioEnginuity Hub, University of California Berkeley

Berkeley, CA

Business Type

Rehabilitation and conversion of landmark museum into laboratory and bioscience facility


95,000 square feet

Through careful planning, extensive coordination, and constant reassessment of strategies, the design and engineering teams fit a new program and energy-efficient mechanical, engineering, and plumbing infrastructure within the highly unorthodox space while protecting its historic fabric.

The space can now be used for cutting-edge research by graduate students, established biotech companies, and life science start-ups in the community.


MBH Architects


University of California Berkeley



  • Pursuing LEED Silver

Special features

  • All-electric building

  • 20% better than California Energy Code

  • Energy Usage Intensity (EUI) of 81 kBtu/Square Feet-Year, a 33% reduction when compared to the LEED baseline and 63% reduction when compared to similar labs in the Labs21 database

  • HVAC system makes use of a fully manifolded supply and ventilation air system that provides healthy and safe ventilation

  • The chilled and heated hot water is generated by a modular air-source heat pump (ASHP) that can operate simultaneously in high-efficiency and heat-recovery mode

  • The fully manifolded HVAC design consolidates and simplifies maintenance with single Air Handling Unit (AHU), exhaust fan system, and plant generating heated and chilled water

  • HVAC design makes project more cost and space efficient with N+1 system redundancy provided for each of the systems

Media Coverage

Building Design and Construction: Brutalist former Berkeley Art Museum transformed into modern life science lab


Metropolis: The Berkeley Art Museum, a Modernist Landmark, is Reengineered and Redesigned


Architectural Record: Modern Redux: University of California, Berkeley's BioEnginuity Hub by MBH Architects


San Francisco Chronicle: A brutalist icon in Berkeley is reborn as a research hub


Billions Flowing To University Life Sciences Centers Seeding Startups, Real Estate Ventures


Blog Coverage

Bakar BioEnginuity Hub: When design pivots for the future