*Featured photo courtesy of Asah Pearson
CAW Architects, Palo Alto, California, is known for its enduring commitment to architecture for social change. In light of the Coronavirus pandemic, the firm’s most recently completed project, The Center, has opened ahead of schedule to provide essential distribution aid and storage for the Alameda County Community Food Bank. Commissioned by the Oakland Unified School District and located in the heart of West Oakland, California, The Center was designed to support a central kitchen for district-wide food production, an education center focused on the culinary arts, and an urban farm to support 37,000 students across nearly 100 schools for Oakland Unified School District.
Housed on one comprehensive site, the goal of the one-of-a-kind regional facility is to support health, wellness, and education for the entire school district and to feed the nearly 30,000 students who participate in the district’s free and reduced lunch program. Originally scheduled to open for the fall 2020 school year, and with construction not yet complete, the District accelerated the build-out to gain temporary occupancy to allow the Alameda County Community Food Bank use for collection and distribution to administer essential relief in the wake of the Coronavirus. The District is now sharing the kitchen with the Food Bank so it can distribute an average of 3,000 meals a day to those most in need.
“This project sets the standard for a new model of scalability in food justice and community wellness issues,” said Brent McClure, AIA, of CAW Architects. “It also proves that architecture has the power to both impact urban planning and respond to emergencies.” Said a District spokesperson, “The Center will stand as one of the best things Oakland Unified School District has ever done.”
CAW Architects aspires to change the world for the better, one beautifully designed project at a time. The firm’s commitment to architecture as an agent for social change is apparent in its award-winning body of work that champions educational and community-based projects. Whether designing new buildings on distinguished campuses, in vibrant downtowns or in stately neighborhoods, or adaptively reusing historic buildings in need of careful rehabilitation, CAW gives buildings a new lease on life, infusing them with energy and economic vitality. The firm prides itself on its superbly designed projects that respond uniquely to clients’ needs.