Herbert Beckhard Frank Richlan & Associates, Architects
Overview: Completed in 2005, this new 19,200 square foot public day care facility accommodates children of a variety of ages: toddlers, children 4-5 years old and after-school children 6-12 years old. The three-story Center is largely devoted to classrooms, but also includes administrative offices, facility support rooms, ground level and rooftop play areas and a kitchen. The lively principal façade is of glazed brick in strong primary colors: yellow, red, blue and green. The siting, massing and configuration of the building were developed to maximize the amount of ground level play area. As a community resource, the Center visually opens itself to the neighborhood. Mi Casita (2004), a site-specific sculpture by Dominican-American artist Moses Ros, was commissioned and created for the Center’s front courtyard through New York City’s Percent for Art Program. It serves as a playhouse and recalls the site’s history as a community garden.
Sustainable Features: With children’s well-being at heart, the design of the Williamsburg Center prioritizes a healthy indoor environment. Extensive natural daylighting brightens the interior, and green materials were selected after a rigorous review of their potential to emit toxins or volatile organic compounds. Natural light, introduced in several ways, conserves energy by reducing the use of electric lighting, and enhances the quality of the learning environment. Large windows at each classroom allow light into the front of the building and provide views to the outside. Light shelves reflect natural light from bands of horizontal strip windows, near the ceiling, to the far reaches of the classroom spaces within. A glazed interior light well, toward the rear of the site, extends from the roof to the ground level. It introduces daylight to the inner core of the facility, which is walled-in at the rear and on both sides by neighboring buildings built to the lot lines.
Located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York. Size: 19,200 gross square feet square feet on small urban site of less than one-fifth acre. Construction cost of
$6,350,000. Building completion March 2005 (Design commenced 1999).
Client Agencies: NYC Agency for Child Development; NYC Department of Design & Construction.