NEW YORK — The design of Beacon High School in New York recently earned its design team a 2016 National Design Award of Honor from the American Society of Registered Architects (SARA). The arts- and technology-focused public high school is located in Manhattan’s Times Square Theater District, and is the product of a collaboration between New York City-based architectural and engineering firm John Ciardullo P.C. (JC) and the New York City School Construction Authority (SCA).
Beacon’s previous home was a cramped building on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. An extensive search for a new and permanent home for the school’s unique program resulted in the discovery of an existing six-story former factory building, which was then being used as a book storage facility for the New York City Public Library. Working as both architect and engineer, JC converted and expanded the building, built in the 1920s, into a cutting-edge, seven-story high school structure, according to a statement by the firm.
“We expanded and converted the 205,000-square foot warehouse into a 235,000-square foot, modern educational facility by adding a double-height seventh floor to the existing structure,” said John Ciardullo, R.A., the firm’s principal, in a statement.
Extensive renovation work was done to both the building’s interior and exterior spaces. The façade in particular underwent a complete recladding, adding new insulation and a rain screen to create a waterproof skin. Vinyl composition tile flooring was used as well as direct-indirect fluorescent pendant fixtures and spray acoustic ceiling. The classroom windows were acoustically glazed to reduce outside noise.
Today, the renovated building includes a 432-seat black box theater, regulation-sized gymnasium, 40 general education classrooms, art and music rooms, science labs, a library, dance studio, cafeteria and commons area. The new high school will greatly alleviate the overcrowding of the former school facility, which was located in the Lincoln Center area, according to a statement by JC.
The new Beacon High School also complies with the SCA’s Green School Guide and Ratings System and Local Law 86 of 2005, known as the New York City’s Green Building Law. Both were instituted to conserve energy, reduce operating costs and promote a healthy environment.
In addition to SCA and JC, New York-based general contractor Skanska USA Building Inc. served as the project’s general contractor and AKRF Inc., also of New York, provided civil engineering and acoustical consulting services. DVL Consulting Engineers of Hackensack, N.J., served as the mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineer.