Skip to main content

A 1920s office building on Manhattan’s Upper West Side is being transformed to create a new home for this expanding Jewish day-school. Dattner Architects began working with the Shefa School as they were outgrowing their original facility. We developed an extensive programming study, which lead to a real estate search, followed by the design of their new school—which is now under construction. The 100-year-old office building provided the framework to vertically stack the school’s program on 12 floors. The design supports Shefa’s unique instructional needs to provide dual-language, personalized instruction of K-8 students with learning disabilities.

A 1920s office building on Manhattan’s Upper West Side is being transformed to create a new home for this expanding Jewish day-school. Dattner Architects began working with the Shefa School as they were outgrowing their original facility. We developed an extensive programming study, which lead to a real estate search, followed by the design of their new school—which is now under construction. The 100-year-old office building provided the framework to vertically stack the school’s program on 12 floors. The design supports Shefa’s unique instructional needs to provide dual-language, personalized instruction of K-8 students with learning disabilities.

The program is organized vertically on 12 floors. Administration and public assembly spaces occupy the lowest levels. The primary school is separated by two art and science floors from the middle schoolers at the upper floors. A double height gym, office floor for teacher training and an outdoor rooftop play yard occupy an addition at the top of the building.

The program is organized vertically on 12 floors. Administration and public assembly spaces occupy the lowest levels. The primary school is separated by two art and science floors from the middle schoolers at the upper floors. A double height gym, office floor for teacher training and an outdoor rooftop play yard occupy an addition at the top of the building.

Flexible Classrooms

The school’s pedagogic method involves highly specialized and focused personal attention for each student, resulting in a very low student faculty ratio of a little over 2:1. To supply the flexibility and small group instruction model needed, classrooms are designed to work as home rooms for groups of 13 students, which are then be subdivided and supplemented by another small group classroom containing 4-5 students each. The home room spaces unobtrusively incorporate a soundproof divider, 3 teaching stations and flexible layouts for teaching in multiple groups. Each wall has built-in storage and display space to maximize the usefulness of all surfaces and make the most of the tight building footprint.

The school’s pedagogic method involves highly specialized and focused personal attention for each student, resulting in a very low student faculty ratio of a little over 2:1. To supply the flexibility and small group instruction model needed, classrooms are designed to work as home rooms for groups of 13 students, which are then be subdivided and supplemented by another small group classroom containing 4-5 students each. The home room spaces unobtrusively incorporate a soundproof divider, 3 teaching stations and flexible layouts for teaching in multiple groups. Each wall has built-in storage and display space to maximize the usefulness of all surfaces and make the most of the tight building footprint.

To transform the historic core and shell to its new use, substantial amounts of modification to the existing structure were needed, including the rebuilding of new circulation cores. The top two floors of the building are being removed and rebuilt, with the original terracotta façade and copper cornice being preserved where possible, and reconstruction when necessary.

To transform the historic core and shell to its new use, substantial amounts of modification to the existing structure were needed, including the rebuilding of new circulation cores. The top two floors of the building are being removed and rebuilt, with the original terracotta façade and copper cornice being preserved where possible, and reconstruction when necessary.

Design Concept
Location
New York, NY
Area
70,000 sf
Completion
2024
Clients
The Shefa School
View Project Facts
Location
New York, NY
Area
70,000 sf
Completion
2024
Clients
The Shefa School
Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now

×