In spring of 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic and mass racial justice demonstrations, our friends at Oakland Black Business Fund played matchmaker, partnering SERA with neighborhood nonprofit Oakstop to help the organization take short- and long-term steps toward reopening and expanding its space.
A co-working, art, and event space, Oakstop occupies 5,000 square feet in downtown Oakland’s Mary Bowles Building. With goals of growing within the historic building, and eventually owning it, founder Trevor Parham tasked SERA with repositioning its second-floor space for a 2021 reopening, and outlining the sequential moves in a master plan for the building.
Using SERA’s own return-to-work guidelines, we designed a balance of open and closed environments with the flexibility for adapting to users’ needs over time. As the pandemic recovery shapes the future of workplace, Oakstop’s clients will have options for open desking, individual office suites, and collaboration and event spaces for large groups. In our design, collaboration spaces are centered below existing skylights to anchor work, meeting, and social functions in daylight. When Oakstop expands to fill the entire building, the centerpiece of the space will be a new two-story atrium filled with the work of Oakland artists. This space will connect all of Oakstop’s program areas and bring the organization’s identity to street level, where it can engage the community along the vibrant Broadway thoroughfare.