By Kimberly Murphy
On June 9, 2014, NY Times writer Jan Hoffman authored an article calling into question the highly decorated, colorful classrooms that we all probably grew up with and where our kids/nieces/nephews are probably currently attending. Here at ESKW/A, we embrace, celebrate, promote, and adore colors so we were especially curious to read Ms. Hoffman’s article. A study performed by Carnegie Mellon looked at the test results of classrooms richly adorned with decoration and ones with stark walls. It’s nice to think that the physical environment was the critical factor in the test results, because as architects we truly believe in the value of the well built environment; however a little thing called teachers might have had an impact as well. We have a hard time believing that scalloped borders on displays are “visually damaging” children. We do applaud a strong stance either way and agree with the notion that the images on the walls should be created by the students in the room.
The study is admittedly narrow, but since it does place importance on the physical classroom environment we would like to ask for ceiling heights, natural light, and artificial lighting variables to be measured. We bet money that the results will point to improved performance in an improved space. We also think that better space makes for happier teachers and we all want that. Spaces that are well crafted and maintained are places of pride which all schools strive to be.
We’ve been in many, many classrooms and designed a fair number of them as well. Yes, some classrooms can look like a circus of colors and distractions, but don’t run out for the gray paint just yet! Organized compositions of color and a structure of displays and delineation of various spatial functions can go a long way to improve the modern classroom. Call us, we can help.
Not to toot our own horn too loudly, but we’re proud to announce that recent ESKW/A projects have been honored with awards! New Settlement Community Campus, submitted with Dattner Architects, received an Excelsior Award, a new program from AIA New York State honoring outstanding Public Architecture. Our men’s homeless shelter for Project Renewal at 4380 Bronx Boulevard was recently completed and received a Boston Society of Architects Housing Design Award.
We wanted to take this opportunity to share some of our favorite detail photos of each project which don’t often get promoted. Thank you to AIA New York State and Boston Society of Architects for recognizing our projects.
Jack Doyle, the Executive Director of New Settlement Apartments, was named the “Mayor of Renewal” in a New York Times article last week that profiled the “real mayors of New York.” The glowing profile highlighted Jack’s contributions to the Mt. Eden neighborhood of the Bronx. He works to build community there as both a longtime resident of the area and as the director of the community-based organization. New Settlement owns and manages many affordable housing buildings and hosts cultural and educational programs. Our project New Settlement Community Campus is the most recent venue in which the organization is supporting the neighborhood. If you haven’t checked out the amazing programs provided at the Community Center — Alvin Ailey dance classes, yoga, and swimming, to name just a few — we suggest you follow their Facebook page.
Congratulations, Jack. We are proud to partner with New Settlement on their work to make New York City communities vibrant and strong, and we’re happy that the NYT honors these heroes.
As the school year commences, we are proud to announce that New Settlement Community Campus, designed in partnership with Dattner Architects for Settlement Housing Fund and the NYCSCA, has recently received several awards:
Boston Society of Architects – Educational Facilities Awards
Society of American Registered Architects, National Council – Award Level TBD
Society of American Registered Architects, New York Council – Award of Honor
Society of American Registered Architects, Pennsylvania Council – Award Level TBD
Brick in Architecture Award – Best in Class for Educational Facility
We are thrilled that this project has been recognized by our larger architectural community. We wish the schools another wonderful school year; we applaud New Settlement for their extensive programming that allows the building to buzz with life.
Above, Jeff Dugan, AIA, Principal, of Dattner and Andrew Knox, AIA, Partner, of ESKW/A, enjoy dessert at the SARA NY Awards gala.
We are proud to announce that New Settlement Community Campus, a school and community center in the Bronx, has won a Society of American Registered Architects Award of Honor through their 2013 Celebration of Architecture and Design Program.
Happy New Year from all of us at Edelman Sultan Knox Wood / Architects!
As we wrap up 2012, we would like to take a moment to reflect on the year that was. We have many things to be proud of: we launched this blog, completed some amazing projects, commenced construction on some exciting projects, and on a more personal note celebrated Whitney’s retirement, Janine’s move to Boston, and Tatjana’s departure to be with her new baby. All in all, we feel 2012 was a banner year and can’t wait to top it in 2013. Here are some highlights:
JANUARY: ESKW/A launches our Blog
Last year we announced our re-launched website and the ESKW/A blog – a new adventure that has proved to be a solid showcase for details of our projects as well as a way to connect with our architectural community in New York City. Claire’s popular post An Afternoon with Judith Edelman explored the rich history of our firm. We have enjoyed highlighting our work in the office, and recently featured Grace and Daughtry’s efforts at St. Lucy’s Housing. Kimberly continued to act as managing editor even as she welcomed her second child, Luke, into the world. We invite you to follow the ESKW/A blog by clicking the “follow” button at the top of the page.
FEBRUARY: Whitney Retires
If you’ve called the office in the past year, you’ve noticed a change: Whitney Merritt, our office manager for the past 40 years, has retired. She is no longer here to greet you with her trademark, “EDELMAN SULTAN”. We miss her dearly, thank her for her many years of dedication to the office, and wish her an amazing retirement in South Carolina with her grandsons. Meanwhile, we were pleased to welcome Lauretta da Cruz – the sister of our wonderful comptroller Lucille – as our new office manager.
MARCH: Team works on Prospect Plaza III RFP
Andrew, Francisco, Grace, and Claire worked deep in collaboration with Settlement Housing Fund and Briarwood on the Prospect Plaza III RFP for the New York City Housing Authority. The office came together in numerous charrettes, seeking a design solution for this site undergoing revitalization in Brownsville, Brooklyn.
APRIL: 4380 Bronx Boulevard commences construction + Tatjana leaves
Andrew and Philip are working on an exciting building for Project Renewal. 4380 Bronx Boulevard was formerly used as a manufacturing facility, but is now being converted into a men’s homeless shelter with 108 beds. The design features five torqued skylights which fill the upper floor dormitory space with light and air. The shelter is on track to open this May.
In April, we also said goodbye to Tatjana as she welcomed her second child Kalin into the world and took a break from being full-time architect to be full-time mom. Her work on projects such as 4380 Bronx Boulevard and True Colors Residences is greatly appreciated by the office, and we wish her much happiness and joy with her wonderful little boys.
MAY: The team designs Captain Post
For those who know the long history that many projects in the non-profit housing world have, you can appreciate our celebration of a project that has floated around the office for almost five years. Moses, Kimberly, and Randy picked up schematic design on Captain Post for Clinton Housing Development Company. The long-vacant historic factory building on 52nd Street will be fully renovated with a small addition and will provide twenty-two affordable housing units.
JULY: BxC under construction
Kimberly and Jun welcomed the start of construction on the Bronx Community Charter School which is expanding into a 30,000 sq. feet within a new building on Webster Avenue. Working with LOM Properties and Joy Construction, the new school will host a variety of unconventional learning spaces including nooks for each grade level and “front porches” for each classroom. BxC is slated to open in 2013.
AUGUST: St. Lucy’s Houses + True Colors Residence
Grace and Daughtry kicked off construction on the St. Lucy’s Houses in Harlem. Working with Phipps Houses and Notias Construction Inc., the construction commenced and has been moving along well towards completion in Fall 2013.
True Colors Residence in West Harlem, provides permanent supportive housing for formerly homeless LGBT youth. We are proud to announce that the building won a housing design award from the Boston Society of Architects, as well as a design award from the Society of Registered Architects. We salute Randy, Tatjana, and Ari’s hard work on this groundbreaking project. We look forward to working with West End Residences on the next True Colors Residence in the Bronx in the new year.
SEPTEMBER: NSCC opens
A collaboration with Dattner Architects, New Settlement Community Center in the Bronx is part school (housing a Primary School and an Intermediate / High School) and part Community Center. NSCC opened its doors just this past fall, and has already become deeply integrated into the community. At the ribbon cutting ceremony, various members from the Bronx and public officials, including Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, praised the school as a beacon for a revitalizing area. ESKW shouts out to all staff who contributed to the success of this project, past and present, including Alyssa, Amber, and Kelly who contributed tremendously to the project.
OCTOBER: Hour Apartment House III + Janine’s Goodbye
All new construction projects rightly celebrate when they get out of the ground, but Randy, Fialka and Grace had true cause for celebration when foundations and block walls of Hour Apartment House III, rose above the ground plane. The project for Hour Children is a residence in Queens that will provide permanent affordable housing for formerly incarcerated women together with their children.
We were sad to bid farewell to Janine Sutton who had been at the firm for over seven years. Some highlights of her work include Eco-Restroom, 6 Columbus, Phelps House, LaMattina Wildlife Ambassador Center at the Bronx Zoo, and ECHO Apartments. She has moved to Boston and currently works at EYP Architects. We wish her great happiness, success, and many return visits to ESKW/A.
NOVEMBER: Thanksgiving + the Mary Spink Residences
Per our tradition, we broke work a little early the day before the holiday early to celebrate together and give thanks. Everyone contributed to the amazing spread (Lauretta’s cheesecake was a hit), but Jun failed on his promise to cook a turkey with a blow torch. In these still-tough economic times, we are grateful that we can continue to do meaningful work in the public sector while still growing our business.
Andrew and Kerry were excited to have construction kick off on the Mary Spink Residence for the Lower East Side People’s Mutual Housing, a supportive housing residence for mentally ill New Yorkers. The building will provide supportive housing and services for forty-six (46) residents.
DECEMBER: Denton Green + the New York Aquarium
December saw the successful construction closing of Denton Green Houses, a facility for senior citizens in Nassau County, which is receiving a comprehensive renovation, new entrance drive, enlivened façade treatment, and new elevators. Daughtry led the ESKW/A team through the project and looks forward to starting the construction phase. Watch for updates.
Randy, Cary, Michael, and Jun are hard at work on preparing plans for the New York Aquarium Assessment. In the devastating aftermath of hurricane Sandy, one of the areas hardest hit was the coastline near Coney Island, and the team is preparing drawings for the Aquarium’s renovation. Of course, they are also working on new Sharks! Exhibit, opening in 2015.
That’s our brief look back at 2012. We wish you all the best this holiday season, and look forward to seeing you in 2013!