In New York City’s Greenwich Village, a new rooftop expansion and athletic center was built to accommodate growth for Grace Church School, making use of every inch of the urban institution.
Designed by Murphy Burnham & Buttrick Architects (MBB), the 1301-m2 (14,000-sf), double-height addition to the high school’s campus delivers flexible spaces with sunlight for varied physical activities, academic uses, and events. Centered on a large, multipurpose gymnasium and new gathering areas, the expansion adds offices, classrooms, locker rooms, and storage facilities, as well as a new fitness center and golf simulator room.
The arched steel roof is integrated with the school’s original footprint and harmonizes with the surrounding neighborhood. Students ascend an extended stairwell approaching a large skylight bringing light deep into the core of the building. The gym’s ceiling includes skylights with anti-glare panels.
The expansion includes a curved-steel structure and an acoustically isolating concrete slab set on floor jacks to reduce vibration and sound transmission to classrooms below.
“Urban schools built on constrained or compact sites face limitations on growth, yet Grace Church School has turned its limitations into assets, fostering a strong learning community through creative placemaking and facility design,” said Sara Grant, AIA, MBB partner. “Capturing a rooftop or activating below-ground spaces can offer flexibility and new ways to bring students and faculty together to support diverse education needs.”