Playful Design at the Children’s Bureau Family Center


The activity centers feature playful details such as trees that seem to sprout from the tables.

Project: Children’s Bureau Family Center at Magnolia Place

Location: Los Angeles

Organization: Children’s Bureau of Southern California, a nonprofit leader in the treatment and prevention of child abuse and neglect for more than 100 years.

Population Served: The new Family Center provides children and their families with a preschool, playground, meeting space and family counseling and activity rooms. The facility also houses administrative and support areas, as well as a commercial tenant wing, offering a medical clinic, legal services, and financial counseling for families in need.

Architect: Rios Clementi Hale Studios

Design highlights: The industrial feel of the former 60,000-square-foot credit card manufacturing facility was softened with the use of different varieties of wood, custom-designed wallpaper, creative paint colors and bold graphics. A central “cloud chamber”—a trapezoidal lightbox sporting custom cloud and sky prints that drops down into the central space—ushers natural light into the interior through a series of skylights. Diamond saw-cut patterns in the façades of the building allowed the architects to punch out small windows to bring additional light inside. The preschool’s eight classrooms were organized along the building’s western side and open onto an adjacent courtyard and spacious playground area.

The “cloud chamber” was a creative way to bring natural light into the large space.

Custom wallpaper brings a hint a nature into the administrative offices.

A sprawling outdoor area features a playground and a 275-square-foot restroom facility.

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