This new public high school creates a dynamic center for the arts. Drawing on the vital role of performance and communication in the curriculum, the building is both stage and performer: it acts as a public stage that showcases the inner workings of the school and projects them outward to the community and is a vital participant in a growing arts corridor in Queens.
The building’s large glass façade embraces its surroundings, visually inviting the community inside. On the inside, a choreographed sequence of spaces inspires a creative community of students to take a memorable journey. We have created a building that brings a little bit of Times Square to Astoria, Queens.
Supported by a public/private partnership, this 1,000-student high school for the visual and performing arts realizes Tony Bennett’s and Susan Benedetto’s long held vision to honor Frank Sinatra’s legacy.
The school building is a great work of art, capable of inspiring greatness within, and befitting the great esteem in which we should hold our most democratic of institutions, public education.
The building performs within the urban landscape, broadcasting the arts to the community through a transparent façade that connects students with the City. The state-of-the-art facility includes studios, performance spaces, and an 800-seat theater as the focal point of the structure, placing artmaking and performance at the core of the building’s design.
A perimeter frame of daylit classrooms and studios opens onto a central atrium space that rises through the building’s five stories. The shared internal space buzzes with energy, fosters interdisciplinary communication among students and acts as a venue for performance and the display of student work.
At the top level, the student cafeteria and hallways open up to a green rooftop courtyard and performance area, visually connecting interior and exterior spaces.
The School anchors the Kaufman Arts District, which has redefined this former industrial area of Queens.
1000-Student High School for the Visual and Performing Arts, 800-Seat Theater with Balcony Seating, Control Room, Full Stage with Fly Tower, Stagecraft Lab, Black Box Theaters, Media Center/Broadcast Studio, Dance Studios, Music Practice Rooms, Orchestral and Choral Rooms, Art Studio and Lab, Gymnasium, Roof Terrace, Galleries, Classrooms, City-Wide Special Education Classrooms, Science Demo, Labs and Prep Rooms, Cafeteria, Administrative Offices, Parking Garage for 100 Cars
Ennead Design Team
Susan T. Rodriguez, Brian Masuda, Joseph Fleischer, Kalavati Somvanshi, Christopher Halloran, John Zimmer, James Sinks, Charmian Place, Hiro Kashiwagi, Jörg Kiesow, Kevin Krudwig, Chee-ping Kuek, Vivian Lee, Mary Elizabeth Liggio
Photography / Videography
Jeff Goldberg/Esto, Spirit of Space/Small Stuff
Merit Award, AIA / New York Chapter
Society of American Registered Architects, National Design Award
AIA New York State Excellence in Design
The Chicago Athenaeum, American Architecture Award
Award of Excellence, Society of American Registered Architects / New York Council
Queens Chamber of Commerce Building Hall of Fame Award
Vozick-Levinson, Simon. "Paul McCartney Surprises Queens High School with Auditorium Rock Show" (Rolling Stone, 10/9/2013)
Sheftell, Jason. "Studio City: Film production center Kaufman Astoria Studios writes script for growth in nabe" (DailyNews.com, 1/8/2010)
Kilgannon, Corey. "He's Never Left Astoria Behind" (The New York Times, 6/26/2009)
Rueb, Emily. "A New Arts School Prepares for its First Act" (The New York Times, 9/9/2009)
Toppo, Greg. "At Tony Bennett’s $78M School, Arts Trumps Fame" (USA Today, 9/17/2009)
Ross, Chuck. "Specialty Schools: Thinking outside 40-acres and a fence" (Architectural Products Magazine, 1/2010)
"Frank Sinatra School of the Arts Opens in Astoria" (Local 718 Queens, 9/21/2009)
"Sinatra School Opens in Queens" (WABC, 9/21/2009)
"Tony Bennett Helps Open School for Arts in Astoria" (NY1, 9/18/2009)
MacDonald, Kerri. "Music Legends Help Open Sinatra School in LIC" (The Queens Courier, 9/2009)