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Wake County News > Posts > ​Oak City Center Wins Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Outstanding Design
October 02
​Oak City Center Wins Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Outstanding Design

A formerly-abandoned warehouse on South Wilmington Street is looking a lot more vibrant these days thanks to Wake County and its partners – and the community is taking note.

Oak City June 2019 - 15 Final.jpgThe Raleigh Appearance Committee recently recognized the Oak City Multiservices Center at the 2019 Sir Walter Raleigh Awards for Community Appearance, held at Raleigh Union Station, in the category of public facilities.

“Winning this award is a true honor because it demonstrates our team has succeeded in improving the community and the surrounding environment,” said Mark Forestieri, director of Wake County Facilities, Design and Construction. “Wake County strives to build facilities that enhance their surrounding area and fit into the local community’s goals.”

Forestieri’s department developed the design esthetic for the Oak City Center in collaboration with LS3P Associates and Gilbane Building Company. The project revitalized a 1950s warehouse building located at 1430 S. Wilmington St.

As a facility that serves the homeless, the Oak City Center strikes a balance between design and function. Warm colors and a modern front desk greet visitors as they enter the door, and the building’s intuitive floorplan guides guests to the staff and services they need.

“Above everything, we wanted this project to convey a sense of warmth and welcoming to the people coming here,” Forestieri said.

Oak City June 2019 - 07 Final.jpgSince their creation in 1983, the Sir Walter Raleigh Awards have recognized more than 200 projects for their outstanding contributions to the city’s character, environment and appearance. Winners are selected by jury of designers, architects, urban planners, artists, environmentalists and residents in other fields.

In awarding the Oak City Center, the jury said the facility “treats the community with dignity and respect, expressed through the thoughtfulness of design.” The jury also praised the project for its minimalist and beautifully-executed design and recognized it for saving a historic building.

High-quality images of the facility are available at bit.ly/ocmc-photos.

An Innovative Approach to Services
In April, Wake County opened the Oak City Multiservices Center in partnership with Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Raleigh, the Raleigh-Wake Partnership to End Homelessness and the City of Raleigh. Oak City Cares operates the facility.

Oak City June 2019 - 08 Final.jpgThe community has never before had a resource like this center, where residents who are at-risk-of or currently-experiencing homelessness can find all the services they need in one location, including:

  • Housing assistance;
  • Medical care;
  • Laundry;
  • Showers;
  • Behavioral health support and more.

Previously, people would have had to visit multiple providers in different parts of the county to access these services, which was challenging – particularly for those without transportation.

The Oak City Center is located next to the South Wilmington Street Center, which provides emergency and transitional shelter services to men experiencing homelessness. GoRaleigh buses provide public transportation to the area.

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