New Settlement Community Campus

New Settlement Community Campus
Bronx, NY
172,000 SQ FT
School/ Community Facility

Year and month completed: September 2012

Project partners:
Design Team: Dattner Architects/Edelman Sultan Knox Wood/Architects
Developer: Settlement Housing Fund
Client: New Settlement Community Campus + NYC School Construction Authority

LEED Certification: NYC Green Schools Guide – a LEED Silver (minimum) equivalent

Project Summary:
The New Settlement Community Campus (NSCC) is an integrated school and recreational facility located in the Bronx, New York. Developed as part of a neighborhood redevelopment project, which aimed to create 1,022 affordable homes over a 20-year period, the NSCC serves as an essential amenity for the new residents. The project responded to the dire need to alleviate overcrowded classrooms within local schools, expanding on an initial desire for a public swimming pool to become a full pre-k through 12th grade school. Now serving over 1,160 students, the Campus provides a wide range of indoor and outdoor learning spaces and activity hubs, along with a healthy food program, and an on-site health clinic.

Beyond providing students with state of the art school facilities, the NSCC was designed to be used as a flexible, joint-use resource, for both students and local community members. Throughout the school day, after school, and on weekends, the various facilities are used by other local schools and by community members without disrupting the daily flow of educational activities. Additionally, the Campus offers year-round recreational classes and programs to the public, making it a constant hub of physical activity and social interaction in the neighborhood.

The design of the Campus was strategically tailored to spotlight this aspect, showcasing opportunities for physical activity among students and residents. Edelman Sultan Knox Wood / Architects notes that main common spaces and activity hubs, such as the auditorium, pool, and gymnasium, were designed to be transparent and visible to outsiders and people passing by the school. This increased level of transparency uses the activity occurring within the school to create a sense of energy both inside and outside of the builidng site.

The NSCC is an innovative case study for recognizing the importance of having accessible places and programming for physical activity within a community. It also demonstrates how joint-use agreements can turn a traditionally closed-off school space into one that strengthens the local neighborhood identity by offering both private and public benefits. Using flexibility in design, the NSCC illustrates the value in using public and private spaces to be cohesive and provide inviting opportunities to be healthy.

Active Design Highlights

  1. The gymnasium’s windows increase transparency from within the space to the surrounding street, enlivening the pedestrian environment.
  2. Stairs are visibly prominent, naturally lit, and centrally located to encourage their use.
  3. The on-site health clinic, facilitated by Montifiore Medical Center, provides full medical and mental health services to students.
  4. A rooftop garden and adjacent cooking classroom are provided as part of the community center, allowing community members to learn more about growing and cooking fresh produce.
  5. An outdoor amphitheater along with a variety of playgrounds and painted ground markings that are suited to various age groups, provide dynamic outdoor recreation spaces for students.
  6. The 75’, five-lane swimming pool is open to both the school, for weekly swimming lessons, and the community, throughout the week and weekends.

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  • User Side Images Image 444
    As part of the building's active programming, residents of all ages can take dance and movement classes, administered by the Alvin Ailey Dance Company. Photo: Charles Chessler Photography.
  • User Side Images Image 442
    The building's staircases are a desirable means of circulation, due to their convenient placement, width, ample daylighting, and interesting views. Photo: Esto Photography.
  • User Side Images Image 443
    The rooftop garden provides a safe place for residents to grow flowers and food, the latter of which can be used in the on-site cooking classroom. Photo: ESKW/A.