by Here in Van Nuys
The Crippled Children’s Society Rehabilitation Center at 6530 Winnetka Ave in Woodland Hills currently works as a center where developmentally disabled persons are assisted in finding work.
But the building is small (11,214sf), irregularly sited, surrounded by open parks and parking lots, and the land it occupies is large (130,926 SF). It commits a sin of not using every square inch of land for profit and therefore has endangered its existence.
A Senior Housing unit will replace it, most likely one run for profit.
My friend Aydin, who lives nearby, brought me there last night.
In the waning light of day, the strange and introverted building, sliced and angled, with a pie shaped courtyard and concrete amoeba benches, presented itself as liberal, caring, and vulnerable.
Under a shaded steel canopy: rows of empty lunch benches and two plastic chairs.
At the entrance to the building, a concrete wall supported a tent pole, marking the structure with some evidence of the powers who created it. It looked like it was added after 1979, sometime in the Reagan Era, when enterprises such as this one began to seem frivolous, and everything began to be ordered and valued in terms of its monetary importance.
What was in the mind of the architect who made this strange building for the disabled now on Death Row? In its composition of contorted shapes and ungraceful lines it seems to go nowhere. But its mission, to educate and train disabled people, succeeds in strange dignity.