With kids in mind...

Saturday 30 Jun 2012

Koning Eizenberg completes new HQ for Childrens Institute Inc.

The adaptive reuse of three industrial buildings in inner city Los Angeles created the headquarters for Childrens Institute Inc. Otis Booth Campus, a non-profit assisting children and families exposed to violence. The campus is split by an alley with the north site focusing on preschool and early childhood services and the south site anchored around a community centre offering educational programs (art, technology, nutrition, after-school) as well as counseling services.

Therapy rooms are dispersed around community spaces to make visits an everyday, rather than clinical, experience. These innovative strategies by Koning Eizenberg Architecture deinstitutionalise the services traditional delivery and build trust in a neighbourhood through counseling and community programs. A key part of the process was re-thinking program organisation to reveal opportunities for collaborative community engagement. On a tight budget ($10.5 million), the design provides amenities that also add a sense of identity and welcome.

At the preschool, an elevator was added and clad in bold graphics to create a community marker. On the south site, the community centre's west-facing entry elevation is the only source of daylight for the building. Shade for the harsh exposure was achieved by reconfiguring a loading dock canopy into a vine-covered arbor that defines an outdoor garden patio running the length of the buildinga respite in a dense urban setting.

Inside, a curiosity box backdrops the lobby, wrapping the technology centre with images. The graphics, featuring the neighbourhood and origami instructions, provide conversation starters for staff introducing children to a new environment.

The project easily achieved a LEED silver rating substantially through renovation (95% reuse) of a brownfield site, increased day lighting and passive shading, introduction of planting and permeable surfaces, and efficient HVAC systems and lighting. Completed in March 2011, an indoor air quality management plan was implemented during construction and diversion from the waste stream was just over 95%.

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