commARCH Nov/Dec 2021 Issue - Page 12

Tyler Chartier Photography
Preserving Historic Appeal
Project : Uptown Station Location : Oakland , California Architect : MBH Architects
The building now named “ Uptown Station ” in Oakland , California , was initially constructed in 1928 as the HC Capwell Co . Department Store , one of the largest stores of its time on the West Coast . In 1989 , the structure sustained significant damage and was labeled a condemned property due to the Loma Prieta earthquake . The historic building underwent a seismic retrofit in 1990 , which made it more secure for future natural disasters but covered and destroyed significant details . Fast forward to 2016 , and Uptown Station was gutted , renovated , and expanded with MBH Architects at the helm .
Preserving the original design was a main focal point of the interior renovation , so the design team reintroduced the exterior glazing , complemented with fresh exterior tiling .
To ensure structural safety , interior supports carry the load of the enormous structure . The fresh finishes and updated structural elements fill the space , creating a contemporary aesthetic which seamlessly complements the art deco inspired designs . Most of the original concrete structure was left exposed , as was the structural steel added during the retrofit , giving the space an added industrial look .
MBH Architects coordinated and synchronized the design development , construction document , and construction administration phases across 57 various consultants and 400 different trade workers of various disciplines . From the project ’ s onset , the design team envisioned the sociological impact Uptown Station would have on the Oakland community , both for the project team , clients , and future visitors .
Uptown Station is now reopened as a hub for dining , shopping , and working .
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