In 1929, H.C. Capwell’s department store brought newfound access and opportunity to Oakland, California. With much the same mission, Gensler set about transforming the beaux arts beauty into Uptown Station. The 375,000-square-foot mixed-use complex, developed by Lane Partners and later sold to Uber, was designed to engage pedestrians with a lively retail arcade while housing tech tenants above.
Principal Peter Weingarten, senior associate Benjamin Parco, and architectural designer Seth Orgain conceived a plan to reveal original steel columns and preserve the terra-cotta exterior. Other proposed features included a 90-foot-high central atrium and a rooftop patio boasting 360-degree Bay Area views—a scheme that netted Gensler's Design Excellence Award for an unbuilt space with a lifestyle-enhancing purpose.