Little Red School House & Elisabeth Irwin High School

New York, NY

2002

Rapidly rising enrollment at Little Red School House & Elisabeth Irwin High School (LREI) created a need to fully renovate existing facilities and expand. A new 15,000-square-foot building, housing learning spaces for students grade K-8, occupies a small parcel of land flanked by existing school facilities on two sides and an apartment building to the south. The new structure integrates the vastly disparate floor levels of the two existing facilities, easing circulation and flow throughout the school. The interiors foster an intimate and collaborative learning environment, while the relocation of the middle school entrance strengthens the dialogue between the school and the community.

©David Sundberg/Esto

Little Red School House & Elisabeth Irwin High School

New York, NY

2002

To support LREI’s connection with the community, 1100 re-oriented the school’s entrance from its unwieldy Bleecker Street location to a new spacious and inviting plaza along Sixth Avenue. Now dubbed “Little Red Square,” the new entrance provides greater accessibly and visibility in the neighborhood, reinforcing the school’s identity and distinguishing its 75-year history in the Greenwich Village community.

©Michael Moran/OTTO

This new building contains a library, cafeteria, science laboratory, gymnasium, multipurpose space, and classrooms. The library is emphasized by its visibility from the exterior and location adjacent to the main entry hall.

©Michael Moran/OTTO

This school, founded in 1921 by an educator, journalist, and psychologist, is conceptualized as a learning laboratory. It encourages students to make connections between their experiences and the world outside of the school, as well as to engage their imaginations. Our architectural approach supports this progressive philosophy. Transparency and natural light fill the school with a spirit of optimism that inspires creativity.

©Michael Moran/OTTO

Creating social spaces in which students can connect with one another is an important aspect of designing for educational institutions. The cafeteria at Little Red School House provides a functional and unique environment for interaction. The library, located directly above this space, was elevated to allow the admission of natural light into the cafeteria. Reflected in the undulating ash wood ceiling, this light provides an atmosphere of warmth.

©Michael Moran/OTTO

The middle-school arts studio emphasizes the importance of the fine arts and arts education for both the school and the local community. Occupying a prominent space at the front of the new building, the classroom has large studio windows and oblique skylights that funnel daylight into the space.

©Michael Moran/OTTO

We developed a master plan that divided the work into two phases and established a construction schedule that would not interrupt the school year. In the first phase, we renovated the existing facilities and added the new building. When funding became available the next year, we added a gymnasium and additional science lab.

©Peter Aaron/OTTO

The work we performed at Little Red School House & Elisabeth Irwin High School in Greenwich Village was the result of an extensive collaboration with the board of trustees, parents, teachers, students, and the community at large. It led to a transformed institution, a re-invigorated community presence, expanded enrollment, and increased parent involvement.

©Peter Aaron/OTTO

The buildings connected to either side of the new building are both of red brick construction. We decided to work within this context and reinterpret the material with a brighter, fresher expression. This choice was articulated through three details: one, the use of red mortar between the bricks to achieve a continuity of color with the adjacent school building, two, the creation of a pattern of recessed bricks that pays homage to the neighboring apartment building to the south, and three, the inclusion of a concrete cornice that corresponds to the scale of its existing counterpart while appropriate to the modern design of the new structure.

©David Sundberg/Esto

Publications

Phaidon Atlas of 21st Century World Architecture. London: Phaidon Press, 2008.

Yelavich, Susan. Contemporary World Interiors. New York: Phaidon Press Limited, 2007.

Merkel, Jayne. “Building Schools Gradually.” Architectural Record Review, July 2004.

Bulthaup, Gerd, ed. Perspectives. Hamburg: Hoffmann und Campe Verlag GmbH, 2004.

Grgurich, John. “Little Red School House and Elisabeth Irwin High School.” Brick in Architecture, September 2002.

Pearson, Clifford A. “Trends in Schools K-12: Little Red School House.” Architectural Record, February 2001.

Nobel, Philip. “A Back-to-School Special.” The New York Times, September 9, 1999.

“‘Little’ School Grows Bigger.” The New York Times, September 5, 1999.

Similar Projects

©David Sundberg/Esto

Little Red School House & Elisabeth Irwin High School

New York, NY

2002

©David Sundberg/Esto

Rapidly rising enrollment at Little Red School House & Elisabeth Irwin High School (LREI) created a need to fully renovate existing facilities and expand. A new 15,000-square-foot building, housing learning spaces for students grade K-8, occupies a small parcel of land flanked by existing school facilities on two sides and an apartment building to the south. The new structure integrates the vastly disparate floor levels of the two existing facilities, easing circulation and flow throughout the school. The interiors foster an intimate and collaborative learning environment, while the relocation of the middle school entrance strengthens the dialogue between the school and the community.

©Michael Moran/OTTO

To support LREI’s connection with the community, 1100 re-oriented the school’s entrance from its unwieldy Bleecker Street location to a new spacious and inviting plaza along Sixth Avenue. Now dubbed “Little Red Square,” the new entrance provides greater accessibly and visibility in the neighborhood, reinforcing the school’s identity and distinguishing its 75-year history in the Greenwich Village community.

©Michael Moran/OTTO

This new building contains a library, cafeteria, science laboratory, gymnasium, multipurpose space, and classrooms. The library is emphasized by its visibility from the exterior and location adjacent to the main entry hall.

©Michael Moran/OTTO

This school, founded in 1921 by an educator, journalist, and psychologist, is conceptualized as a learning laboratory. It encourages students to make connections between their experiences and the world outside of the school, as well as to engage their imaginations. Our architectural approach supports this progressive philosophy. Transparency and natural light fill the school with a spirit of optimism that inspires creativity.

©Michael Moran/OTTO

Creating social spaces in which students can connect with one another is an important aspect of designing for educational institutions. The cafeteria at Little Red School House provides a functional and unique environment for interaction. The library, located directly above this space, was elevated to allow the admission of natural light into the cafeteria. Reflected in the undulating ash wood ceiling, this light provides an atmosphere of warmth.

©Michael Moran/OTTO

The middle-school arts studio emphasizes the importance of the fine arts and arts education for both the school and the local community. Occupying a prominent space at the front of the new building, the classroom has large studio windows and oblique skylights that funnel daylight into the space.

©Peter Aaron/OTTO

We developed a master plan that divided the work into two phases and established a construction schedule that would not interrupt the school year. In the first phase, we renovated the existing facilities and added the new building. When funding became available the next year, we added a gymnasium and additional science lab.

©Peter Aaron/OTTO

The work we performed at Little Red School House & Elisabeth Irwin High School in Greenwich Village was the result of an extensive collaboration with the board of trustees, parents, teachers, students, and the community at large. It led to a transformed institution, a re-invigorated community presence, expanded enrollment, and increased parent involvement.

©David Sundberg/Esto

The buildings connected to either side of the new building are both of red brick construction. We decided to work within this context and reinterpret the material with a brighter, fresher expression. This choice was articulated through three details: one, the use of red mortar between the bricks to achieve a continuity of color with the adjacent school building, two, the creation of a pattern of recessed bricks that pays homage to the neighboring apartment building to the south, and three, the inclusion of a concrete cornice that corresponds to the scale of its existing counterpart while appropriate to the modern design of the new structure.

©David Sundberg/Esto

Publications

Phaidon Atlas of 21st Century World Architecture. London: Phaidon Press, 2008.

Yelavich, Susan. Contemporary World Interiors. New York: Phaidon Press Limited, 2007.

Merkel, Jayne. “Building Schools Gradually.” Architectural Record Review, July 2004.

Bulthaup, Gerd, ed. Perspectives. Hamburg: Hoffmann und Campe Verlag GmbH, 2004.

Grgurich, John. “Little Red School House and Elisabeth Irwin High School.” Brick in Architecture, September 2002.

Pearson, Clifford A. “Trends in Schools K-12: Little Red School House.” Architectural Record, February 2001.

Nobel, Philip. “A Back-to-School Special.” The New York Times, September 9, 1999.

“‘Little’ School Grows Bigger.” The New York Times, September 5, 1999.

Similar Projects

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