Modular Building Institute

Harrison Street Oasis

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Main Category:
Modular Building Design
UrbanBloc Inc.
R & S Tavares Associates
Oakland, CA
Building Use:
Commercial Retail
Gross Size of Project:
570 Square Feet
Days to complete:

Award Criteria

  1. Architectural Excellence
    This project located in Oakland CA, aimed to provide a home for two emerging and local retail brands, Equator Coffee, a premium coffee retailer, and Urban Remedy, a boutique health food & beverage store, within a rapidly transforming downtown urban location. The project developer saw an opportunity to transform a tiny back yard space of a remodeled building into a raised courtyard flanked by two custom commercial modular units fabricated from repurposed shipping containers. The retail units focus their energy into the public courtyard creating an intimate gathering space with tables, chairs and shade structures to provides a welcome oasis for customers and residents alike. The project was embraced by the City of Oakland and it’s residents who have embraced ideas like ‘Urban Acupuncture.’ The utilization of backyards, forgotten corners in dense urban locations to create intimate human-scale amenities that provide life and security to the streets. It has become a model for many other projects currently in the works.
  2. Technical Innovation & Sustainability
    Both units were constructed to become models for future roll-outs. Studies and tests, both digital and on the factory floor, were conducted with the clients to define retail environment, workflow efficiency and optimal customer and staff interactions. Custom requirements and tolerances for equipment and infrastructure within such a constrained envelope that needed to be integrated within the overall fabrication system and then finished to an extremely high aesthetic fit and build quality. The units were constructed to be Plug and Play site ready, with only foundation and utility connections in the field. All finishes and assemblies were required to withstand the flex of road transportation yet be seamless and tight as required by Environmental Health standards for food use.
  3. Cost Effectiveness
    In comparison to Brick and Mortar build-outs, our clients report a savings of around 50%. This is partially in design/ build costs and partially in time to revenue savings due to the extremely quick timeline. Also, looking at future projects, the savings are expected to be even greater as the prototyping efforts, permitting and production layouts have been already invested in the units and captured by our procedures.
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