Harbor Interfaith Services, a non-profit organization serving the Harbor Area and South Bay communities of Los Angeles, California, worked with Withee Malcolm Architects on their 15,000-square-foot family resource center.
The site plan created a more functional design by consolidating all of the program requirements into a single building. Taking advantage of three contiguous parcels which hosted the existing center, adjacent parking and a separate house, the three-story design provides ample room for a mix of uses including the resource center, food pantry, nursery and pre-school, indoor and outdoor play space, administrative offices and underground parking.
Although the district is commercially zoned, the design is respectful of the residential nature of the neighborhood in its scale, setbacks and architectural vocabulary. By placing the resource center with the greatest square footage requirement on the ground floor, and the children’s spaces on the second floor, the architects were able to provide an ample, protected outside playground. Obtaining a variance for an extra floor and locating the office on the third floor, they were able to provide a better workspace for the staff.
In keeping with the socially sustainable goals of the project, the design is also environmentally sustainable, with LEED certification as an aim. Using wood and stone with a metal roof, the design incorporates green design and construction protocols and materials including water use reduction through low-flow fixtures and water efficient landscaping; recycled content materials; low VOC emitting materials and finishes; and optimized energy performance through efficient mechanical equipment, appliances and increased insulation.