Designs Within Reach 2019
(page 4 of 6)
Estimated Completion: August 2019
The seeds for the forthcoming Triangle Workspace Development Project—a “start-up campus” made of 34 steel shipping containers—may have been planted 25 years ago, when architect and developer Ron Vrilakas drove down Broadway in Oak Park for the first time. “When I reached 35th Street, I had to pull over and walk the neighborhood. I felt as though I had discovered a hidden treasure in Sacramento,” says the co-principal of Vrilakas Groen Architects about the potential he saw in the site’s unique triangle configuration.
The project had gathered plenty of street cred ahead of its March groundbreaking. Not just because of what the shipping containers that will be acquired from the Port of Oakland represent architecturally (budget-friendly sustainability through adaptive reuse, for one), but also because of what they symbolize.
“Creative new ideas,” says Sam Allen, a partner at Grounded, an Oak Park-based real estate development firm that owns the trapezoidal lot where TWDP will be located. “Oak Park has a lot of historic buildings, and we wanted to do something that would bring fresh energy to the neighborhood.”
Signed, but as-yet-unannounced ground-floor tenants—so far, a barbershop, a scoop shop and a pizza joint—are expected to attract locals who will congregate in a courtyard marked by benches and shade trees. The project’s upper stories will comprise 16 studios, each 160 or 320 square feet, where artists of all stripes, from video game developers to jewelry makers, can grow their businesses. “It’s an Oak Park incubator,” says Allen, who lives in the neighborhood. “I can’t wait to see the success stories that will get their start here.”