Manhattan High School Renovation

A thorough transformation of Manhattan’s aged and sprawling high school was developed through use of an ethnography effort that revealed the school’s uniqueness, and also its faults. The existing courtyards and commons space formed the school’s unique identity and source of pride.

The design solution sought to capitalize on these unique features, and reorganize and reinvent the remainder of the facility to strengthen that identity. By relocating other shared facilities such as cafeteria and library to a new ‘heart’ of the school, incorporating the courtyards and commons space – the identity of the school was reinforced. New construction of classrooms, administrative space, and renovation of the remainder of the facility completed the complex renovation and addition project.

A new entry sequence solved visibility and security concerns, including the exterior site circulation and parking. The interior was reinvigorated with reclaimed timber accent walls, floors of stained and polished concrete, and abundant glazing to create much needed visibility and daylight harvesting.

The new exterior envelope was designed to unify and transform the mixture of existing brick and window wall solutions that had evolved over a series of many additions. This new durable rain-screen system allows for enhanced exterior wall insulation and daylight harvesting/shading to help the design significantly reduce the overall energy used by the facility.