Avenues invested $60 million in design and construction to convert a Cass Gilbert-designed, landmark building in Chelsea into a state-of-the-art school facility. Internationally-known and experienced architects (Perkins Eastman), interior designers (Bonetti/Kozerski) and engineers (STV) were brought on to achieve this transformation.
When the campus opened on September 10, 2012, we were confident it would be viewed as one of the finest school facilities in Manhattan. Here are 9 reasons why:
Few school facilities are unbounded on all four sides, allowing superior access and light. The Chelsea campus has 600 linear feet of street and park frontage, including a 200-foot “dining porch” overlooking the High Line.
There are more than 700 ten-foot-high windows in the building. Virtually all the classrooms have three of these as their centerpiece.
Public floors (on the first and third floors) have 15- to 18-foot high ceilings. Many floors have 20- to 25-foot “double height” spaces. Typical classroom floors have ceilings more than 11 feet high.
This campus is characteristic of a well-designed Chelsea loft. Extraordinary attention has been given to all aspects of the floor plan, the elevations, furniture and equipment.
Economics do not allow center-city schools the space that is common in boarding schools or suburban schools, but Avenues’ Chelsea campus is spacious. The 215,000-square-foot campus encompasses ten floors, a full basement and a half-acre roof. It offers students 10-20 percent more space than is typical of other metropolitan independent school facilities.
The Lower, Middle and Upper Schools feature well-appointed, open-area “commons” in which students can work on their own. Upper School juniors and seniors will be assigned their own work stations in special “studios.”
The 20,000-square-foot dining floor overlooks one of the most heavily forested sections of the High Line. In good weather, several large doors open onto the park, allowing students open-air dining.
As technological devices are constantly changing, the most important aspect of school design in regard to technology is a robust infrastructure that includes strong and ubiquitous wireless connectivity, sufficient bandwidth and plenty of electrical capacity. In addition, good presentation and instructional technology is part of every classroom setting.
It is important to “walk the walk” on sustainability. Key aspects of the sustainability plan are use of a pre-existing building and complete replacement of all windows to ensure efficient heating and cooling.
All in all, the Chelsea campus is an outstanding place for students to come together and learn.