Famed architect Frank Gehry donated his time and talents to help children and families coping with poverty and violence in Los Angeles. Last week, he unveiled his (pro bono) design for the $35 million Children’s Institute, Inc. campus for the city’s Watts neighborhood.
“CII is an incredible organization with a vitally important mission,” Gehry said, according to L.A. Biz. “I am honored to be a part of this project, which will allow them to expand their reach to even more children and families.”
According to L.A. Biz:
The space, near 103rd Street and Compton Avenue, will allow Children’s Institute to extend its support services to 5,000 children and families in the Watts area. The 109-year-old nonprofit provides services to more than 24,000 children and families a year across Los Angeles County.
The campus features indoor and outdoor areas for after-school activities, and the building includes spaces for individual and group counseling and community meetings.
“Children’s Institute has long provided a safe haven for our most vulnerable, and now it is joining forces with the legendary Frank Gehry,” Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said. “I am excited to see this new campus rise in Watts, as it will elevate the community on so many levels, from protecting children to creating a new architectural gem for the neighborhood.”
The project is another example of the marriage of design and social services for the underserved in L.A. The Skid Row Housing Trust’s stunning, modern Star Apartments high-rise, which provides supportive housing to formerly homeless people, was designed by renowned architect Michael Maltzan and opened in 2013.
Jenn Stanley is a freelance journalist, essayist and independent producer living in Chicago. She has an M.S. from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.