Nodding toward history in a modern fashion
Classical Charter School is a new, four-story building, located within a larger neighborhood of Concourse Village in the Bronx. The school is ideally situated off the Grand Concourse with connectivity to parks, housing, and other schools. In response to the client’s request for a ‘classical school building’ the design concept developed out of an analysis of classical Greek design elements and their organization in the Agora, the center of ancient cities that served as a gathering place and center of athletic, artistic, academic, and political life. The building melds these ideas and classical elements to create a modern facility that nods towards history.
KSS incorporates concepts behind the agora, temple, amphitheater, stoa, the idea of monument, and the emotional response to ancient ruins as catalysts to the new school’s design. To translate these concepts into modern spaces, the lobby is dubbed “the agora”, while the cafeteria and gymnasium act as peristyle elements—spaces organized around the agora.
The combination of modern grid work of fiber cement panels and the use of various scales and coursing of masonry on the exterior keeps an orderly facade. The main entry is shrouded in a warm cedar siding that is accessed through a colonnade and evokes memory of entry to an ancient temple. The main mass of the building is pulled back from the street edge to incorporate a plaza of steps for public use. Additionally, symmetry is practiced throughout—every classroom window is the exact same in size, enhancing the structure’s precision. Through careful analysis, planning, and thoughtful material selections, a classically inspired, yet modern institution emerges in the Bronx.