Sanjay Gangal is the President of IBSystems, the parent company of AECCafe.com, MCADCafe, EDACafe.Com, GISCafe.Com, and ShareCG.Com.
Lampwork Lofts in Oakland, California by Levy Design Partners, Inc
September 21st, 2014 by Sanjay Gangal
Article source: Levy Design Partners, Inc
This historically significant 4-story building, constructed of masonry bearing walls and heavy timber, occupies a rectangular 1.5 acre site at 1614 Campbell Street in Oakland, CA. Originally used as an incandescent light factory by General Electric (GE) and designed by the Austin Company, the building construction was completed between 1912 and 1917. The site continued under GE ownership in 1962 when the division closed. The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake resulted in the destruction of a north bay of the west wing, not to be rebuilt in the rehabilitation project. The structure is noted for being the first industrial building on the West Coast to employ women.
In its modern context, Lampwork Lofts is situated in an up-and-coming post-industrial residential neighborhood. With the building purchased by Madison Park Financial Corporation (MPFC) in 2003, the project culminated and opened for residence in early Summer 2014.
The rehabilitation design intended to restore the 116,000 square-foot building’s original details while establishing 92 comfortable live/work spaces. The interior was subdivided into loft-style units on the top 3 floors, ranging in size from 1-room studios to 3-bedroom units. The architectural approach responded to the unique spaces created by its original factory interior, establishing both ‘typical’ and ‘atypical’ interior layouts.
The reuse of industrial materials already available within the structure was a central tenet to the design. The design of certain units also preserved unique features such as loading dock gates, raised floors, and wide roll up doorframes. This utilitarian approach provided the concurrent advantages of conserving resources and staying true to its post-industrial urban setting. The building also integrates water conservation through low-flow water faucets and toilets in every unit, as well as a bioswale in the parking lot to reuse rainwater and ease pressure on the water supply.
The new construction maintained exposed brick, support beams, and other industrial details where possible, while introducing new materials to mirror the reused resources. A unique result of this approach is the lofted ceilings which range from 14 to 24 feet high, maximizing daylight in the units. The construction of the first-floor lobby integrated salvaged material from the existing building into wall material by the main staircase. Responding to the urban setting of Lampwork Lofts, certain graffiti pieces are preserved in public and private sections of the building. Consistent with the preserved factory structure throughout the building, the third story clerestory is incorporated alternatively in the units and in the hallway, bringing light to each.
Common amenities include elevators on all floors, bicycle storage, laundry rooms situated in the corners of the residential floors, and a ground-level outdoor parking lot to accommodate for tenants’ vehicles.
Staying true to its origins as a light-bulb manufacturing factory, the light fixtures specified inside Lampwork Lofts are simple sockets with unique bulbs, and features stylish contemporary lighting throughout common spaces. Other aesthetic details such as black metal spiral staircases in some units complement both the heavy industrial beaming and light wooden window frames that border panoramic views of San Francisco and Oakland.
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