Oakland, California 2001
The rundown façade of a ten-story office building on a prominent corner at Broadway and 17th Streets in downtown Oakland made for a less than inspiring sight. The original 1913 office building, a notable example of the Beaux Arts style, featured elaborate brick detailing, heavy cornices and a tall glass street level floor. A 1958 “modernization” removed much of the original detailing and sheathed the masonry structure in a skin of glass and aluminum panels. A long, low canvas awning at street level served to further obliterate any reading of the original structure and to compromise the pedestrian experience.
Though it was not feasible to return the entire ten story building to its original 1913 splendor the design intent was to restore the classical scale and proportion of the original design at the street level where the impact would be greatest. The design recreated the sense of a high base in a style reminiscent of other moderne buildings found in the downtown. The style and detailing are clean and simply executed in a palate of granite and painted and stainless steel. New metal awnings, light fixtures and signage provide an elegant finish to the composition. The design elements are carried into the building’s renovated entry lobby.
This project was funded in part by the Oakland Redevelopment Agency’s Downtown Façade Improvement Program.
Owner: Libitzky Properties
Architect: David Trachtenberg, Eric Osth, Alexandra Vondeling
Engineer: Ingraham DeJesse Associates
Builder: Stevelle Construction
Signage: GNU Group