Taking the Reins Urban Farm
Los Angeles, California
Taking the Reins is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help adolescent girls from high-risk environments develop self-esteem, teamwork, responsibility, and leadership skills through learning to ride and care for horses. After acquiring an existing horse facility located along the Los Angeles River’s equestrian corridor, the organization asked us to imagine how to adapt and renovate the existing barn and surrounding structures to create an urban farm and educational complex. The project’s unique site along the river provides a natural setting for the students to engage in unparalleled ways with animals and the environment.
A series of design charrettes with the program’s participants led to an innovative adaptive reuse project with an addition to the existing barn facilities that integrates horse stables, classrooms, offices, and a teaching kitchen adjacent to the farm and vegetable garden. The grounds and the garden act as a laboratory for learning about animals, sustainable agriculture, environmental stewardship, and healthful eating.
The facility will serve as a model for the care of horses as well as the environment. The goal is to not only comply with LEED Gold standards but also, given its proximity to the Los Angeles River, to address best practices for environmentally sensitive water and wastewater management.
20,000 sq ft of building area
2.4 acres of site area
CLIENT: Taking the Reins
PROJECT TEAM: Peter Tolkin, Emily Gilmar, Chris Girt, Almodina Lopez
COST ESTIMATOR: Pankow