August 1, 2013

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Works has awarded the San Fernando Valley Family Support Center project to the design-build team of Charles Pankow Builders Ltd. (Pankow) and HKS Architects, Inc. (HKS). The 212,000-square-foot, five-story facility will be located in Van Nuys, and will consolidate seven county programs into one location for the San Fernando Valley  community. It is scheduled for completion in August 2015.

The new center will house various social service and civic departments including Public Social Services, Child and Family Services, Child Support Services, Health Services, Probation, Mental Health and Public Health. The county’s project goals are to showcase a sleek, modern design; provide a welcoming and inviting environment for facility users; and promote interdepartmental relationships and connectivity among employees.

“Our team is thrilled to be selected for this transformative project,” said HKS principal Scott Hunter.  “Throughout the design process, we will remain focused on who we are designing this facility for: a cross-section of humanity that will visit in diverse emotional and economic conditions. We are creating a humane and respectful experience for the various clientele who use these critical county services, and providing an uplifting, healthy and inspiring workplace for caseworkers and staff.”

The 6.8-acre site features a large, landscaped interior campus core with children’s play area, walking paths, bike racks and numerous gathering spaces. The Pankow/HKS Team was able to create this desired attribute because of the narrow, yet efficient, parking garage designed by parking structure architect HNA/Pacific. A green buffer of trees and landscaping, designed by AHBE Landscape Architects, will separate the parking structure from Van Nuys Boulevard frontage – one of many expressions that will sensitively blend the new center into the existing neighborhood. The interior workspace will be modern and open, with a mix of collaborative, social and focused work spaces for various working modes.

“Embracing the collaborative virtues of the design-build delivery model, the team worked together for more than four months to deliver both design excellence and best value to Los Angeles County,” said Peter Loeb, Pankow’s senior project manager. “Pankow partnered with the best in the industry, leaving ego out of the equation and consistently placing the project’s best interests first.”

The design solution provides an elegant and stylish façade, which is detailed to be factory assembled, enabling rapid installation in the field. Despite the county’s strict overall building height requirements, the design team was able to fit an under-floor air distribution system on the upper floors.  Nabih Youssef Associates, the structural engineer, accomplished this by delivering a light and efficient structural steel frame design. These efficient solutions, among others, set the project on track to earn LEED Gold certification, a level above the project requirement of LEED Silver.

“We are thrilled to work with our design-build partners on this momentous project,” said Dave Eichten, Pankow’s regional vice president in the Southern California region. “Together, we will work in a collaborative manner with the county’s stakeholders to make this project a success, and one in which the San Fernando Valley residents and community will take pride.” 

Pankow is a founding member of the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) and has practiced design-build and integrated project delivery throughout its 50-year history. Pankow provides high-quality construction services to clients in the office, parking structure, retail, hospitality, residential, healthcare, military, education, tenant improvement and mixed-use market sectors. Founded in 1963, Pankow is one of the largest design-build contractors in the U.S. with offices in Pasadena, San Francisco, Oakland, and Honolulu. Pankow is currently working with the Los Angeles Community College District, San Diego Community College District, Related Companies, Kaiser Permanente, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the County of Los Angeles in its Southern California region. For more information, visit

HKS is a leading architectural design firm ranked among the top five architectural engineering firms, according to Building Design+Construction magazine. In 2012, HKS was named the #1 Best Place to Work in Los Angeles among large companies. HKS is currently working with the University of Southern California, Camp Pendleton Naval Hospital, Kaiser Permanente and the County of Los Angeles. Since its founding in 1939, HKS has completed construction projects totaling more than $75 billion in more than 1,263 cities located in 80 countries. The firm operates from 28 offices worldwide.

For more information, contact Mandy Flynn at

Posted in All Markets, Government
Tagged HKS Architects Inc., San Fernando Valley Family Support Center, Scott Hunter