In its organization, façade articulation and materials palette, the design of the Lycée Français de New York creates a dynamic learning environment, embodies the rigor and order of the school’s French pedagogy, and revitalizes its context, conceptually linking it to the scale, texture and dimensional rhythm of the original residential neighborhood.
Located on a through-block site, two five-story structures are connected by three full-lot floors and a north-south bridge at the second level. Shared program spaces such as libraries, cafeteria, auditorium and gymnasia unify the school at the three lower levels. The school is organized around a central landscaped rooftop courtyard accessible to both upper and lower schools.
The design process was an iterative one that thrived on the intersection of our individual and collaborative explorations: of personal experiences in France, individual interpretations of French culture and education, the rich tradition of innovation and invention in French architecture and a shared commitment to the creation of a building expressive of the mission and aspirations of the school.
Contrasting materials respond to the building’s north/south orientation, define the exterior identity of the school and express different aspects of the school’s history and mission. South façades are pre-cast concrete, and north façades are primarily a translucent channel glass system. A framework of horizontal channels and vertical column enclosures unifies the overall design.
The naturally-lit interior spaces of the new Lycée reflect the school’s mission to create a dynamic environment for learning. The openness and transparency between levels and adjacent spaces reinforce a sense of community and promote interaction between students, teachers and staff. The typical classroom corridor layout forms a loop on each floor, encapsulating the core and support spaces at the center and providing access to classrooms along the perimeter.
Additional space was created below grade by excavating thirty feet into the bedrock to provide for large collective spaces such as the auditorium and gymnasium.
New York, NY
Classrooms, Library, Cafeteria, Auditorium, Green Roof
Marlon Aranda, Deborah Campbell, Steven Caputo, Steven Chang, Michael Chen, Stephen P-D Chu, Lucy Ciletti, Andrew Comfort, Robert Condon, Frank Desantis, Amanda Faye, Rafael Gavilanes, Benjamin Gilmartin, Sarah Jefferys, Michael Johnston, Steven Joyce, Yama Karim, James Ke, Dean Kim, Janny Kim, Lauren Kleinberg, Chris Koon, Chung Kuo, Tara Leibenhaut-Tyre, Jane Lin, Marianne Madigan, Andrea Mason, Juan Matiz, Molly McGowan, Sherrill Moore, Edgar Papazian, Harry Park, Charmian Place, Michael Regan, James Rhee, Kevin Rice, William Rosebro, Mary Rowe, Jill Sicinski, Rainier Simoneaux, James Sinks, Oliver Sippl, David Stuart, Daniel Stube, Margaret Tyrpa, David Wallance, Yvonne Yang, Robert Young, John Zimmer
Citation, National School Boards Association Awards, 2008
Honor Award, AIA/New York State, 2004
Excellence in Design Award, Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts, 2003
R. Thomas Hille. Modern School - A Century of Design for Education (John Wiley & Sons, 1/2011)
Gordon, Amanda. "Lycee Francais Goes 'Vert,' Celebrating Environmental Conservation" (The New York Sun, 2/4/2008)
Lubell, Sam. "Polshek Partnership maintains an old school's elegance while delivering space, light and unity to its new building" (Architectural Record, 3/2004)
Kellogg, Craig. "Why Settle for Concrete When You Can Have a Jardin?" (The New York Times, 12/11/2003)
Kinetz, Erika. "In Search of French Soul: A School With La Difference" (The New York Times, 10/26/2003)
"European Façade for a French School in New York City" (School Construction News, 10/2003)
Feldman, Jason. "Lycee Francais Unified Under one Roof" (New York Construction News, 6/2003)
Gross, Jane. "Easing the Wait for Early College Admissions" (The New York Times, 12/11/2003)
Brozan, Nadine. "Postings: A Design Inspired by Descartes" (The New York Times, 12/15/2002)
Thomas Polise Consulting Engineer, P.C.
Langan Engineering and Environmental Services, Inc.
Judith Heintz Landscape Architecture
Brandston Partnership, Inc.
Poulin + Morris, Inc.
Shen Milsom & Wilke
Harvey Marshall Berling Associates
Ducibella Venter & Santore
Wolf & Company, P.C.
Gordon H. Smith Corporation
James R. Gainfort Consulting Architects, P.C.
Construction Specifications, Inc.
Jerome S. Gillman Consulting Architect, P.C.
Iros Elevator Design Services, Inc.
Eng-Wong, Taub & Associates
Trish Martin Associates, Inc.
Harwood Surveying, P.C.
Sciame Construction, LLC
Richard Barnes, Jeff Goldberg/Esto, Aislinn Weidele/Ennead Architects