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PS 101 THE VERRAZZANO SCHOOL   BROOKLYN, NY

The new addition provides PS101K with a unified identity made of old and new parts. The annex nestles between the existing L-shaped school building and a large play yard. A single-story student dining room completes the U-shape formed by the new and old structures. A large outdoor play area occupies the balance of the site, separated from adjacent residential properties to the south by a high fence.
The addition’s modulated façade responds to the residential character of the neighborhood while providing a new entry and identity for the school. The new façade reinterprets various design elements of the existing school building in a modern configuration. A red brick was selected to complement the existing material palette. Lighter cast stone elements highlight new entrances of the addition and recall decorative limestone features of the existing building.
At four stories, the addition will match the height of the existing school. In response to the low-rise residential scale of the neighborhood, the addition’s massing is interrupted by setbacks and material variation. The entry from the sidewalk consists of a building inset “carved” from the first floor volume. This “carving” back provides space for a welcoming entry plaza that incorporates wheelchair accessibility and weather protection. The new entry sequence invites access to a generous lobby, and shared public assembly spaces such as the student dining and the existing auditorium beyond.
In addition, artist Peter D. Gerakaris unveils "Cosmic Bridge" in the new lobby and student dining areas. “Cosmic Bridge” is a hand painted honeycomb-shaped mural installation that spans more than 116 feet. This art installation is part of the NYC School Construction Authority Public Art for Public Schools Program in collaboration with the NYC Dept. of Cultural Affairs Percent for Art Program. Inspiration for the piece came from the school’s connection to the Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano and the nearby bridge named for him. The resulting artwork serves as a visual and metaphoric link between past and future.