The Emeryville Center for the Arts announced the selection of Jensen Architects to design its new art center.

Founded in November 2009, the ECA is conceived of as a new model of visual and performing arts center, a gathering place for aesthetic, intellectual and educational experiences through participation in and appreciation of contemporary visual and performing arts.

Jensen Architects was one of six architecture firms vying for the coveted job of renovating the ECA building on 4060 Hollis Street. After an eight-week design process, the architectural firms presented to a five-person jury that included Allison Williams, design principal at Perkins+Will; Henry Siegel, principal at Siegel and Strain Architects in Emeryville; two ECA board members; and the director of the ECA.

�The jury felt that Jensen Architects had a slightly better handle on the subtleties of our overlapping visual and performing art programs and strong ideas how to tie the ECA into the civic center,� says Sheila Bergman, ECA executive director. �Jensen demonstrated interesting architectural intentions that would result in the kinds of spaces and adjacencies we hope to achieve.�

San Francisco-based Jensen�s proposed design included maximizing the use of the old building.

�We wanted to make sure we didn�t lose the character of Emeryville,� says Mark Jensen, founder of Jensen Architects. �Brick and timber warehouses are the DNA of Emeryville so we really wanted to have a dialogue between the existing building and the new structure.�

Jensen�s vision of the ECA is one that �will allow for direct public engagement that allows people not only to see work but to be part of the work,� he adds.

Among Jensen�s recent projects are the SFMOMA Sculpture Garden, Walden Studios in Geyserville, and the CCA Graduate Center. Jensen Architects were recently selected in May to design the Sonoma County Museum.

The Emeryville Center for the Arts will be housed in the former United Stamping Co. building, a 30,000-sq-ft warehouse adjacent to City Hall and in the heart of Emeryville�s historic Park Avenue District. The contemporary art center will include galleries, a 250-seat theater, art and technology and artist residency studios, an arts education lab, a caf� and nightspot, a gift store, administrative offices, and catering facilities. The ECA plans to open its new $12 million facility in the fall of 2012.