A beacon of excellence in the South Bronx
Classical Charter Schools prides itself on a distinctive approach to educating students, whom they call scholars, through a rigorous classical curriculum with focus on art, music, Latin, debate, fitness, and other disciplines proven to prepare students for current and lifelong success. For their fourth school in the South Bronx, Classical Charter Schools sought a “classical school building” to support its highly structured setting and pedagogy.
Inspired by the client’s reverence for the classics, the design team analyzed six classical architectural prototypes—the Agora, Temple, Theater, Stoa, Monument, and Ruin—and incorporated each element into the design of South Bronx Classical IV (SBC IV). For example, the lobby takes the form of the Agora, a plaza surrounded by civic buildings that serves as a central gathering place, flanked by the gym and cafeteria which serve as Temple and Theater, respectively.
On the exterior, a stone-wrapped colonnade frames the main entry, linking interior and exterior spaces in an expression of the Stoa, a portico lining the perimeter of the Agora. A rich material language of stone and warm wood accentuate the entrance to create a welcoming multisensory experience for scholars and families, faculty, and the extended community. The main mass of the building engages the streetscape through an orderly, rhythmic façade. Its modern grid of fiber cement panels offers variety in scale yet pays meticulous attention to symmetry, highlighting the structure’s precision and reflecting the rigorous academic environment within.