PS 281, The River School

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New York, NY
103,000 SF
LEED Silver Equivalent, NYC Green Schools

PS 281 is an urban school derived from a desire to create a singular, compact building that expresses the energy and spirit of its students while acting as a focal point and gathering place in its community. The school takes shape as a vertical building with an efficient six-story layout that accommodates 612 students in PreK – 8th grade, including students with special needs. Several large program areas were needed such as the library, gymnatorium, gymnasium and rooftop playground. Additional spaces include 17 classrooms, art and music rooms, science labs, and a cafeteria. 

The primary challenge for this project was working within the constraints of a tight urban site. To address this, the design of the school focuses on using every opportunity to capture natural light and to use a bright primary color material palette along the exterior and interior to encourage an animated and playful school experience.

Building Program