Hope Street Margolis Family Center – The Nest

  • area / size 2,300 sqft
  • Completed 2021
  • Perkins&Will designed The Nest for the Hope Street Margolis Family Center to give children a space for play and exploration in Los Angeles, California.

    The Perkins&Will team conceived the name “The Nest” as a metaphor for healthy education. “We want to give children room to spread their wings and learn by exploring their imagination in a place of safety,” said Ashley Stoner of Perkins&Will.

    The Nest design reflects this approach. Retrofitting St Mark’s Lutheran Church’s original 1971 building and vacant original preschool space, the team exposed the high ceilings and divided the main interior with custom felt curtains that slide aside to create one large classroom and modulate acoustics. Also separating the spaces are colorful custom shelves for reading, stacking blocks, and other stimulating activities.

    “Play is built directly into the design,” said Stoner. “The sense of freedom and exploration in a secure environment is essential to quality preschool education. It will follow these toddlers throughout their lives. This is a small project with a large impact.”

    Other design highlights of The Nest:

    • The flex curtains reflect environmental cues. Teachers can modify the space to respond to circadian rhythms, including sleep patterns, and encourage patterns of behavior.
    • An outdoor perimeter encloses the space. The designers established multiple play yards—essential during pandemic and post-pandemic times—surrounding the classrooms for a direct visual connection to outside play space.
    • Removing grills from windows while adding windows and glazed doors visually connects indoors and outdoors while offering healthful and energy-saving daylighting.
    • Child scaled elements including windows in doors, shelving, playful nooks, and even oversized light fixtures foster a sense of wonder and autonomy as the children move and interact with a space designed especially for them and a collaborative curriculum.
    • By using bright expansive colors in a modern way, the design reflects subtle nods to vibrant aesthetics that resonate with the population to be served at “the Nest.”

    Design: Perkins&Will
    Photography: Here And Now Agency