CAW Architects, Inc.

CAW Architects, Inc.

Palo Alto, CA


The Foster Center

The Oakland Unified School District had a clear and audacious goal to transform their nutritional services program throughout the District by providing fresh, healthy, and tasty meals to over 30,000 students daily.  Central to this vision is the creation of the Foster Center.  This project combines three distinct programs: a 30,000 square foot central kitchen, an education center, and a 1.5 acre urban farm, all on one site creating a singular, integrated experience for the students and the Oakland community. Not only will the center produce nearly 50,000 meals each day, but will offer a rich tableau of educational programs within the classrooms and the urban farm tailored towards all grade levels emphasizing STEM learning, farming, environmental science, and a range of career based educational programs.  With this one project, the District will enhance the health, wellness, and educational experiences of the entire district.

The design links the three disparate programs of central kitchen, education center, and urban farm into a unified facility.  Central kitchen employees, faculty and students all access the site from a single entrance near the street.  Inside the lobby, a glass wall links the main kitchen to the lobby allowing students to see how their food is prepared and for District employees to not lose sight of the children they serve.  Connected to the entrance lobby, the education center comprises two classrooms, a culinary arts laboratory and faculty offices.  The culinary arts laboratory is outfitted with a full demonstration kitchen and commercial kitchen equipment supporting thirty students at a time.  All three classrooms directly link to the outdoor classroom spaces by moveable glass walls, allowing each room to operate as an indoor / outdoor learning environment.

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Status: Under Construction
Location: Oakland, CA