This new Manhattan tower for the Stephen Gaynor School and the Ballet Hispanico houses elementary and middle school for children with learning differences on the first seven floors; the ballet occupies the top three. The design addresses the unique needs of these students who often have orientation and navigation challenges. The project recaptures the intimate spirit of the school’s former small brownstone site by dividing the program into upper and lower schools, stitched together with a generous atrium stair.
The two schools intersect at a common core curriculum level featuring shared art, science, occupational therapy and library spaces. An outdoor classroom above a large library window gives students a visual connection to the surrounding neighborhood. The Ballet Hispanico above the Gaynor School houses three large studios, new offices, and services for the company and school staff. The studios are floor-through spaces to allow optimal natural light and ventilation, and to permit a broad range of choreographic possibilities. Each studio has panoramic views of the city to the north and south.