Children’s Law Center’s Safe and Colorful Haven

Children’s Law Center (CLC) is a Washington-based non-profit advocacy group that provides a range of legal services to at-risk children, their families, and foster caregivers.

OTJ’s relationship with Children’s Law Center is longstanding and rooted in trust. We are proud to have successfully delivered this lauded organization’s previous workplace, and when the time came for relocation, we brought our intimate knowledge of its operations to bear on the design of a new high-performance space.

The project was driven by the imperatives to increase collaboration, promote wellbeing, and celebrate a remarkable culture. Investigation into the organization’s programmatic requirements led our designers to suggest a seemingly unconventional approach for a group comprised largely of attorneys accustomed to privacy. Our design proposed to downsize private offices, shift to a primarily open workstation concept, and increase shared space. This progressive strategy, embraced through careful change management, has since translated to an office-wide shift toward increased collaboration.

Children’s Law Center, like so many of our forward-thinking partners, understands that the success of an enterprise often rests in the strength of its human capital. To promote the wellbeing of its staff, the organization insisted on offering full access to daylight and views to all. OTJ addressed this requirement by locating all offices along the space’s internal perimeter. Glass office fronts allow for further light penetration deep into the floorplate.

Aesthetically, the space is a study in sophistication and playfulness sure to appeal to even the organization’s youngest clients. The entry’s design includes pitched roofs that emulate the gables of a welcoming home as well as a graphic of the city skyline printed on frosted film at both adult and child eye level. Other elements in the design include a playroom and conference area featuring artwork by many of the young clients. A simple framing system allows for the works to be updated, as needed. Also lining some of the walls are baby pictures of the staff to further create bonds and provide sources of conversation. The lawyers’ offices have been structured for both privacy and efficiency and utilize glass walls and doors to infuse natural light into the spaces.

The result is a transformative workplace uniquely suited to empower the organization and its network of pro-bono lawyers, pediatricians, and city leaders to assist children in finding a path to better education, health, and a stable family.

If you have any questions about Children’s Law Center, please contact OTJ Architects today by calling 202-621-1000 or visit www.OTJ.com today!  You can also follow OTJ Architects on FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterest, and Google+.

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