Historic building embodies commitment to health, sustainability and community
Oakland, CA; June 25th: Prevention Institute dug its roots a little deeper into its Oakland community home today—and reflected its organizational work as a national leader in community prevention—as its historic building at 221 Oak Street in Jack London Square received official Heritage Property Designation.
From its certification as a green business to the local organic fruit delivered weekly to staff, Prevention Institute seeks to embody its organizational vision: that healthy places and communities provide the foundation for healthy behaviors and outcomes. In the case of the Prevention Institute office, PI has embedded that vision from the ground up—literally. The building was constructed in 1924 as a furniture factory and designed by E.W. Cannon, a prominent local architect at the time. Upon entering the building in 2006, Prevention Institute performed a significant remodel of the entire structure, led by general contractor Jason Brown and renowned architect Lillian Mitchell of Berkeley-based Harp, Ostroy, Mitchell Structures. The space was designed to emphasize openness, diversity, air, and light—with reclaimed windows, rough-hewn barn doors and jewel-toned paint—while simultaneously maintaining the building's characteristic and historical features, including twenty-seven bay windows and an innovative floating second floor topped by a corbelled cornice.
"Every day Prevention Institute works across the country to encourage practices that help communities thrive," says Prevention Institute founder and Executive Director Larry Cohen. "That includes helping to make the places people live, work, learn and play healthier, sustainable and more vibrant. We wanted to bring that message home, to our staff, our neighbors and the City of Oakland." Handcrafted furniture, a rooftop garden, fine art, ceramics, weaving, and topical posters are incorporated into the work environment, and Prevention Institute encourages workplace wellness and community engagement through sustainable food practices, local purchasing, artistic expression, and hosted community events. Staff join together every Friday at an oversized table for a vegetarian shared lunch.
Properties that receive the Heritage Property Designation have been deemed by the city to be among the "most prominent historic properties in the city." Prevention Institute's historic status will help preserve the building's original character, reflect their deep pride at being grounded in the historic Jack London Square warehouse community, and allow them to share the building's rich investment in the community. "Our building has become an integral part of our organization," says Cohen, "We are immensely proud to be part of both a rich historical legacy and a new exciting future right here in Oakland."