David Lamb Photography
Location:New Rochelle, NY
Size:14,000 square feet
Award:AIA WHV Citation Award, Learning by Design Outstanding Project
The goal of The Ursuline School project was to create a new front to a complex of buildings that reflected the quality of the educationalvexperience being offered within. The 1960’s wing provided an outdated and inappropriate first impression of this high performing school. It was also critical to provide an accessible gathering space for the arrival and departure of students.
The design solution created active learning spaces and community gathering areas that supported the school’s leading-edge teaching. The scope of work included the addition of a welcome center, admissions office, a student commons, a STEAM Center, and the development of a courtyard commons.
The lobby addition echoes the architecture of the original buildings and provides a light filled space for informal gathering during the day as well as a space to host events. The space features soft seating and a lower entry space with stepped seating. The site lines from the stepped seating area provide views to the pick-up/drop-off area where students can safely wait. The new Admissions Office was relocated to a prominent location adjacent to the new school store.
The curved hallway draws visitors into the building and into a hallway that traverses the existing cafeteria and the new student commons. Adjacent to the commons is a conference room that can function as a seminar-style classroom, meeting, and videoconference facility. The expanded student commons and conference room feature glass window walls that curve around an existing semi-circular outdoor seating and gathering area called the JB Commons, which honors one of the school’s former headmasters.
The STEAM Center features two spaces – a drop in makers space with windows into the hallway and a STEAM classroom. The school population passes by this space multiple times a day resulting in “accidental inspiration,” which magnifies the interest in the STEAM curriculum. The space is divided by sliding barn doors and features high ceilings and clerestory windows, moveable teaching technology, and flexible furniture. The STEAM Center was designed to support the school’s robotics, engineering, and computer science programming and allow students across the curriculum to combine technology with hands-on constructing.