Kennedy Child Study Center
Award of Merit
The adaptive reuse of a 25,000-square-foot space without natural light led to an open, refined space for learning and engagement.
Last summer, the 165-family Kennedy Child Study Center relocated to a new home in East Harlem, occupying two floors of a previously un-renovated 1930’s warehouse building. The adaptive reuse of the 25,000-square-foot space presented a number of difficult challenges, including an unusually low ceiling and absence of any natural light.
Consequently, the design of the 16-classroom facility developed around the need to radically transform the existing warehouse into a varied space for learning and engagement, creating a sense of both openness to the surrounding community and continuity between the neighborhood and the individual classroom environments.
This is a refined and distilled learning environment that responds to the developmental needs of this sensory-sensitive population. This works at the scale of the individual and of the collective. It allows the faculty to configure and reconfigure groups based on the learning needs. The project worked within the constraints of the low ceiling in the existing building. This is an exceptional adaptive-reuse project that supports the central concept of the school, which is to adapt pedagogy to the unique needs to each student.