Zev Yaroslavsky Family Center

Submitted by HKS Architects, Inc.

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Client: County of Los Angeles

Location: Los Angeles, CA, United States

Completion date: 2015

Project Team

Architect

HKS Architects, Inc.

HKS Architects, Inc.

Architect

Thom Greving

HKS Architects, Inc.

Interior Designer

Silva Zeitlian

HKS Architects, Inc.

Artist

Elena Manferdini

Atelier Manferdini

Overview

A new 212,000 sf, five-story Family Support Center in San Fernando Valley, California consolidates seven Los Angeles County family services departments into one location which serves the most vulnerable and needy residents of Los Angeles. The project creates a community-friendly, park-like campus, provides a safe, welcoming and sustainable environment for the facility’s clients and promotes interdepartmental collaboration among its 1,000 employees. The primary design goal is to facilitate the County’s service model transformation process which is designed to provide a more convenient and welcoming experience for its clients who have previously needed to visit multiple service-providing locations.

Goals

The County of Los Angeles’ Family Services Departments has strived to find ways to better serve its constituents but despite diligent efforts, there are periodic reports of disappointing outcomes. Facilities that are over-crowed and outdated, systems that contribute to a lack of collaboration among caseworkers and employees that are over-burdened and lacking in morale have inspired the County take bold steps.

Project aspirations were ambitious: to express the County as an effective, forward-looking institution, to provide a welcoming and stress-reducing environment for their clients, and to promote inter-departmental employee collaboration. Art was seen as a major factor to aid in this regard.

“Inverted Landscapes” is a set of two installations designed by Elena Manferdini, a Venice Beach artist. The projects, one integrated into the glazing near the entrance and one suspended from the ceiling at the entrance are meant to be in dialogue with each other visually and conceptually.

The designs create a fantastic garden where the visitors see their own images reflected in the pieces. The imagery is a deliberate appeal to the viewer’s attraction to the playful, fictional and fantastic aesthetic which represents a clear statement that nature has a powerful, uplifting role in our culture.

Process

More than two years before the project was to open, The Los Angeles County Arts Commission undertook a competition to commission a major piece of art for the entrance of the Zev Yaroslavsky Family Support Center. The competition was a two-step process by which artists were asked to present their portfolios after which a select few were asked to submit concepts for the piece. The project’s architectural designer was asked to participate in the selection process to offer observations relevant in the final selection.

Once selected, the artist was very open to collaborating on the development of the piece with the architectural, landscape and interior designers so as to maximize its integration into the design of the building. As the piece was developed, they were invited to attend and collaborate at regular design update meetings of the artist with the LA County Arts Commission.