Friends Seminary

New York, NY
Historic School Enlists Contemporary Architecture to Reconfigure and Expand

Friends Seminary has been a leading K-12 independent educational institution in New York City since it was founded in 1786 by the Religious Society of Friends. The school, housed in a series of interconnected structures in a historic district, had long been in need of renovation and expansion to house its instructional programs. The project is the first of several phases of construction over a ten year period to consolidate program areas, update mechanical systems, provide ADA accessibility and add new performing arts, visual arts and athletic facilities. Special focus is placed on high performance building features as new systems and structures are implemented.

This phase includes construction of a new library and information services center and reconfiguration of the adjacent entry and core to create a new heart of the campus in a vertical core containing an elevator and a double-wide stairway linking the floors of the various interconnected buildings. The library pushes three glass-clad study alcoves onto the sidewalk, weaving the school community into the surrounding neighborhood. Careful orientation of the cherry-clad book stacks and glass clerestories and sidelites allow light and views to pass through the library, from the 16th street to the interior courtyard.

Photography / Paul Warchol