Children’s Institute Inc., Watts Campus

Los Angeles

Award of Merit

Submitted by: Oltmans Construction Co.

Owner: Children’s Institute Inc.

Lead Design Firm: Gehry Partners LLP

General Contractor: Oltmans Construction Co.

Civil Engineer: Mollenhauer Group

Structural Engineer: Workpoint Engineering

MEP Engineer: Schnackel Engineers Inc.

Architect: Chait and Co.

Architect of Design: Gehry Partners LLP

Construction Manager: Bottega Management Group

Designed pro bono by architect Frank Gehry, the Children’s Institute Inc.’s Watts Campus is a two-story, steel-framed facility at the corner of E. 102nd Street and Success Avenue in Watts, Calif. The campus’ primary purpose in this historically underserved Los Angeles community is to provide therapeutic and supportive programs for local children and families.

Completed in May 2022, the facility features several different facades that include glazing, metal panels and plaster, which created a leaking vulnerability. The team worked together with the architect, waterproofing consultant and multiple trades to ensure the roof drained and to provide adequate waterproofing at each material transition. From one side to the next, the material swapped from sheet metal to plaster, requiring installation of intricate details and custom reglets over the waterproofing.

Throughout construction, various scope changes included upgrading materials and finishes, and adding features, which increased the project’s duration. Permit revisions were also necessary, which added to the schedule and lead times, but Oltmans worked closely with the entire project team to ensure the Watts Campus would be delivered on time and without sacrificing quality.