Back to School in New York City

August 31, 2018

The New York City School Construction Authority’s mission is to ensure that NYC public school children have the facilities necessary to prepare them for the 21st century and beyond. Designed to last more than a century, these buildings serve as existing and future landmarks that define the social and physical character of the city’s neighborhoods. For our SCA projects, we are currently engaged in a collaborative partnership with Massa Multimedia Architecture, known as Graves-MMA JV Architects.

For MGAD, it is both privilege and delight to create the physical environments that shape life experience, and that provide spaces dedicated to focusing the lens of individual and community evolution and growth.

PS IS 42 Arverne, Queens, PK-8

PS IS 42 in Rockaway, Queens, PK-8

We expanded this 800-student school on the Rockaway Peninsula to increase its student capacity by 400, adding a new main entrance, student dining complex and full-sized gymnasium in a contemporary classroom addition that is not only stylistically compatible with the existing historic building, but also facilitates accessibility to the entire two-building school complex.

PS 290 Ridgewood, Queens (The Geraldine A. Ferraro School), PK-5

PS 290 Geraldine A. Ferraro School, Queens, PK-5

The new 616-student school serves the surrounding Ridgewood community as well as citywide District 75 special education programs. We took advantage of the restrictive street-widening setback by locating the building at the rear of the site to provide an expansive playground and curved the façade to reflect the dynamics of its location along fast-paced Metropolitan Avenue.

We turned a 1950s postal facility into a contemporary public school while respecting the history of the site and being sensitive to the South Street Seaport Historic District.

PS 343 Peck Slip School, Manhattan, PK-5

PS 343 Manhattan, Peck Slip School at South Street Seaport, PK-5

Our adaptive reuse of a 1950s postal facility created a dynamic “hyper-urban” 712-student school comprised of an extensively renovated existing 4-story concrete structure, a new 2-story vertical addition, and a new rooftop playground. We worked closely with the State Historic Preservation Office to design a contemporary exterior envelope appropriate for the new educational use while still reflective of the history of the site and sympathetic to the character of the South Street Seaport Historic District.

Being able to meet New York City’s growing demand for schools despite a shortage of available sites means that we are repositioning other building types and expanding existing facilities.

PS 24 Flushing, Queens, PK-5

PS 24, Flushing, Queens, PK-5

A major renovation and expansion of an existing 750-student school complex in Flushing will serve an additional capacity of 692 students. Our L-shaped addition creates a generous new courtyard and entrance to help manage the daily flow of 1450 students while complementing the original SHPO-eligible 1920s school through massing, colors and materials.

We developed an unconventional approach to saving what remains in this remarkable landmarked police precinct house in Brooklyn, which was approved as the basis of design for a new public pk-5 school.

Basis of Design for Public School at 4302 4th Avenue, Sunset Park, Brooklyn, PK-5

Adaptive reuse of police precinct for a school at 4302 4th Avenue, Sunset Park, Brooklyn

We prepared multiple scenarios for preserving all or portions of the landmarked 1886 Old 18th Police Precinct House and Stables as part of a potential new PK-5 public school serving 332 students. We performed detailed field documentation, testing and investigation on the abandoned, deteriorating structure to engage SHPO support for an unconventional approach to saving what remains of the protected historic structure. As a result of our detailed report and basis of design, the hybrid new school/historic preservation project was approved by SHPO, SCA, and city government to move forward.

PS 671 Sunset Park, Brooklyn, K-5

PS 671 Sunset Park, Brooklyn, K-5

The highly efficient rectangular plan of this new 404-student school maximizes space for an outdoor playground, while taking advantage of unique, unobstructed pastoral views over the adjacent historic Greenwood Cemetery. Variations in masonry colors and textures subtly break down the scale of the planar street façades and distinguish the organization of uses within the building while still strengthening the visual prominence of the main school entrance.