Avenues: The World School is a new private international learning community that introduces an educational model that responds to the unique educational needs of 21st-century students in their increasingly connected world. With curriculum shared across the school’s eventual 20 worldwide campuses, the school requires a state-of-the-art facility that supports a learning environment that traverses time zones and languages while it educates and inspires. For its inaugural campus in New York City, the client looked to Perkins Eastman and Bonetti/Kozerski Studio to help create a physical environment that supports the curriculum and vision and provides a high-performance stage for 21st-century learning.
In collaboration with Avenues leadershipand engineering firm STV, Perkins Eastman and Bonetti/Kozerski Studio transformed a landmark 1928 Cass Gilbert warehouse in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan into a school truly for the future. A restored historic warehouse on the exterior, the interior spaces as conceived by the design team are decidedly forward-looking in their programming, technology, finishes, and amenities.
The design team’s design took cues from the 205,000 sf building’s existing floorplan, taking special care to maintain the integrity of the building’s interior and exterior characteristics that contribute to its architectural legacy. At ten stories, the building’s verticality allowed for four distinct schools—Early Learning Center, Lower School, Middle School, and Upper School—to stack on top of one another in the one building. With high ceilings and an abundance of natural light, characteristic of the Manhattan “loft style,” the school emphasizes its urban location through constant visual connection to the outdoors—and particularly to New York’s celebrated High Line Park that runs adjacent—setting the stage for a progressive environment for learning.
Taking inspiration from Avenues’ vision for a new kind of progressive education, and reflective of its Chelsea location—New York City’s neighborhood of art galleries and high-concept fashion—the design provides opportunity throughout the building to display art, both by famous artists and the students themselves—a further nod to the client’s desire to inspire beyond preconceived norms. With subtle yet sophisticated interior design, the school overall provides a serene environment for learning. Developed in tandem with the curriculum, the design of Avenues complements the school’s educational goals and is an integral element of this platform for 21st-century learning.
Avenues: The World School New York opened Fall 2012. Other worldwide locations are currently in design.