Bronx Charter School for the Arts

Architect: Weisz +Yoes Kel-Mar‘s contract for this award winning project began as a C/M and was later changed to a GMP.  The challenge was to convert the dilapidated remains of a former 23,700 sq. ft. meat processing plant located in the Hunts Point section of the South Bronx into an airy, light and colorful elementary school environment conducive to fostering creativity and learning. The original factory consisted of two separate buildings constructed of masonry bearing walls and structural steel at the end of a dead-end street of industrial warehouses, auto repair shops and factories.  One key goal was to provide natural light and air to the existing dreary warehouse space. Extensive structural modifications that included six (6) (70′ X 15′ ) shed roof polycarbonate clerestory skylights in the roof framing, as well as the creation of large  window details at the street elevations, allowed for an abundance  of natural light into the space.  The other key element of the architect’s sustainable design was to allow natural fresh air to filter into the space.  Service upgrades included new gas, electric and a combination domestic water/sprinkler service.  Numerous roof top package units now provide both heat and air conditioning, limiting loss of floor space normally consumed by duct chases and mechanical rooms.  The open plan interior space is finished with brightly colored floor patterns and accent wall paintings; and a new multi banded high gloss brick veneer was applied to the school’s façade, creating a sense of excitement to the otherwise bleak surroundings.  Despite a severely limited budget, unforeseen site conditions and a difficult schedule, Kel-Mar, in unison with the rest of the team and community, exceeded expectations to construct this oasis of artistic and academic learning in the heart of the industrial section of the Bronx. The Bronx Charter School for the Arts has won four awards:  A 2005 New York Chapter AIA Oculus Architecture Honor Award; The K-12 EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES 2005 HONOR AWARD FOR DESIGN EXCELLENCE from the Boston AIA  and a  2005 Design Share Citation Award. Finally, in September, 2005: The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts selected Bronx Charter School for the Arts as a Creative Ticket National School of Distinction. Only five schools in the nation were given this honor.

Abraham House
Private Residence Stony Point, NY