The Stephen Gaynor School is a private elementary and middle school for children with learning difficulties and inhabits the first seven floors, including the gym/cellar. Expanding their existing facility from their building on 89th Street, the Ballet space is housed within the top three floors above the school.
The project recaptures the intimate spirit of the school’s former small brownstone site by dividing the program into upper and lower schools, stitched together with a generous atrium stair. The design addresses the unique needs of these students who often have orientation and navigation challenges. The building’s concrete structure visible inside creates spatial geometries particular to each floor. This strategy, coupled with the interconnecting stair, means there is almost no spatial repetition in order to create an environment where architecture and pedagogy merge to enhance spatial cognition and navigation skills.