David Baker Architects

SPARC-It-Place


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Pallet seating and garden beds were built by volunteers. Image: David Baker Architects

Spirited balloon signage at the Grand Opening. Image: David Baker Architects

A craft table at the SPARC-It-Place Grand Opening. Image: MooD-ology Photography/Curtis Jermany

Local kids training in the circus arts share their skills and charm at the grand opening. Image: David Baker Architects

SPARC-It-Place is a temporary community market, event space, and small business incubator in West Oakland. As part of our 1+ Commitment, DBA designed SPARC-It-Place with Oakland nonprofit EBALDC on a vacant lot recently purchased by the developer. The colorful plaza will activate the empty lot and serve as a temporary community amenity for approximately two years, until ground is broken on the site for EBALDC's planned affordable family housing development (also a DBA design). 

The project provides outdoor vendor stalls for local start-up businesses to share and sell products and also includes a performance stage, play zone, outdoor eating area, and several community art installations.

This active and engaging space is part of a long history of community development work that EBALDC has done to improve health and well-being along the San Pablo Avenue Corridor in Oakland, an area that suffers from limited public open space. 

Aerial context site diagram. Image: David Baker Architects

View corridor. Image: David Baker Architects

Main Street and vendor stalls. Image: David Baker Architects

Sculptural play/seating zone. Image: David Baker Architects

Backlit, glowing lantern element facing the street. Image: David Baker Architects

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Aerial sketch. Image: David Baker Architects

The scrimmed scaffolding lights up at night, creating a glowing "lantern" tower. Image: David Baker Architects

Sparc-It Place is a project of DBA-LAB, our in-house research and experimentation studio that engages opportunities for public-interest design and small-scale, community-oriented works.

 

Low Cost, Light Footprint

In order to be easily disassembled and reassembled elsewhere in the future, the project was designed using simple, inexpensive, and modular components.

Vendor stalls were built out of construction scaffolding, the seating/play elements were constructed out of shipping pallets, planters were built with salvaged redwood, and leftover “corn cribs”—sturdy wooden stacks used to store modular units on a DBA construction site—serve as stage seating.

One of the primary goals of the design was to enliven the site through ample planting and color. DBA worked with Public Design to create vibrantly colored graphics on scrim panels affixed to the vendor stalls. Facing San Pablo Avenue, a 20-foot scrimmed scaffolding element features the SPARC-It-Place logo and is backlit during night events to create a glowing, “lantern” effect.

Vendor stall concept sketch. Image: David Baker Architects

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Image: David Baker Architects

Children enjoying the Family Playground, designed and created with the help of community volunteers. Image: MooD-ology Photography/Curtis Jermany

Spirited balloon signage at the Grand Opening. Image: David Baker Architects

Graphic scrim and scaffolding make for a sturdy, reusable signage strategy. Image: David Baker Architects

Local kids training in the circus arts share their skills and charm at the grand opening. Image: David Baker Architects

Image: David Baker Architects

Image: David Baker Architects

Reused "corn cribs"—sturdy wooden stacks rescued from a modular-construction site—are painted red for festive, flexible seating. Image: David Baker Architects

Pallet seating and garden beds were built by volunteers. Image: David Baker Architects

Image: David Baker Architects

The scrimmed scaffolding lights up at night, creating a glowing "lantern" tower. Image: David Baker Architects

Image: David Baker Architects

Image: David Baker Architects

Image: David Baker Architects

A craft table at the SPARC-It-Place Grand Opening. Image: MooD-ology Photography/Curtis Jermany

The audience at a SPARC-It-Place Friday night performance. Image: MooD-ology Photography/Curtis Jermany

Children enjoying the Family Playground, designed and created with the help of community volunteers. Image: MooD-ology Photography/Curtis Jermany

Aerial context site diagram. Image: David Baker Architects

View corridor. Image: David Baker Architects

Main Street and vendor stalls. Image: David Baker Architects

Sculptural play/seating zone. Image: David Baker Architects

Backlit, glowing lantern element facing the street. Image: David Baker Architects

Aerial sketch. Image: David Baker Architects

Vendor stall concept sketch. Image: David Baker Architects

DBA worked with our friends at SF graphics firm, Public, to develop an environmental graphic palette that is bright and playful. Image: Public

project details

Category

DBA Lab

​Location

Oakland, CA

Developer

East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation

Architect

DBA Lab

Graphics

Public Design

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