08 Sep ODA punctuates the compact cube of the beth rivka school in…
new york-based architecture firm ODA rethinks the traditional school design typology with its design for an addition to the beth rivka school in crown heights, brooklyn. guided by the principle that the cube is the most compact shape, the studio has developed a stacked campus with various outdoor spaces and voids that connect inside and outside worlds.all images by darcstudio, courtesy of ODA
‘the conventional american school is low, horizontal, with a playground next to a courtyard,’ explains ODA. ‘in urban areas, schools tend to grow vertically, and situate their playgrounds on roofs. these typologies can be found in all developed environments, but as we look to a future of increased urban density, the traditional model’s relevance to cities is put into question.’ the studio’s design for the 19,788 sqm (213,000 sqf) addition to the existing girls’ school comprises three components – high school, pre-kindergarten, community center – and attaches to the four-story, L-shaped elementary school, which will undergo no construction. its form takes the shape of a cube, with plenty of outdoor areas, voids shaped and treated as real spaces, gaps taking advantage of orientations, in-between spaces controlled to prevent leftover areas, and an organized layout to maximize walkability.
strategically placed throughout the structure, the various voids introduce a semi-public gap that serves as an additional façade to apply materials and create openings, resulting in a richer experience. ‘buildings are no longer limited to the dichotomy of public and private spaces, but can now enjoy this new semi-public gap full of possibilities,’ notes the new york-based studio. accessed through its own entrance, the high school incorporates a bustling atrium, which connects lower floors by non-linear stairways. thirty classrooms, administrative rooms, a large dining hall, library, and labs provide conventional learning spaces, while a video room, art room, and multipurpose areas facilitate more progressive styles of education.
the pre-kindergaten also has its own building entrance, leading to a gathering hall that functions as a transitional space with an indoor playground for kids, parents, and teachers to meet before or after school. extra-large elevators lead to its upper floors, where 30 classrooms, a cafeteria, music room, therapy room, and private offices for parent-teacher meetings. four large spheres of play, where experiential learning happens in an informal setting, occupy the upper level of the pre-k, while above it, a rooftop playground is located. between the pre-k and the high school sits the shared community facility, equidistant from upper and lower floors and complete with pool, solarium, gym, exercise rooms, auditorium, and two floors of private offices for rent to nonprofit organizations.
to blend with the existing school’s brown brick, ODA has chosen traditional and modern materials of the same tone, including tinted board-formed concrete with a wood texture, exposed trusses and expanded metal mesh. channel glass encases classrooms to provide ample natural light inside while obscuring the view outside, while murals by local artists adorn ceilings and surfaces with welcomed playfulness.
name: beth rivka school
architect: ODA new york architecture
location: 470 lefferts ave, brooklyn, ny 11225
client: beth rivka school
size: 250000 sf
team: eran chen, jean baptiste berteloot, boliang pan
sofia lekka angelopoulou I designboom
sep 08, 2019