There are organizations who believe they can't afford an architect let alone pay for what an architect designs. Yet for many organizations, the design of their physical environment is central to their reason for being. This project is about the paradox that people who would benefit greatly from architecture don't feel they have access to it. Many organizations who help people grow by interacting with them in physical spaces, believe they don't have the resources for the design and construction of those spaces. We're exploring opportunities in this blindspot by creating moderate budget projects that have the essential elements of architecture: organization of program, scale, and quality of light. We have found that the key lies in making use of what is already there.
Schools rely on the layout of their spaces to practice their teaching philosophies. But many think they're not in a financial position to commission an architectural design. This project for a preschool shows that it's possible to affordably design spaces customized for a client's needs.
The school leased a property with undesirable existing conditions because it was more affordable than others in the area. The school occupies a structural transfer floor between a residential tower above and offices and parking below. To support the two different parts of the building, the interior is filled with a confetti plan of columns. Some columns carry the high-rise while others accommodate the car ramp and parking clearances, forming an irregular pattern of structure that presented challenges to use the space.
Inaba Williams took advantage of the existing qualities like the generous amount of daylight to brighten classrooms in the 4000SF Brooklyn preschool. Tall glass panels installed along interior walls draw natural light into the central drop off / pick up area. In the central area the original structure is left exposed to serve as its focal point. A large column supporting transfer beams frames the wood floor threshold area in front of two classrooms. On the other side of the column is a small nook for kids to sit and play while waiting for parents during pick up. Elsewhere we let columns protrude out to reveal traces of the original structure.