Science Lab Classrooms

NYC Public Schools, NY

Program: Interior Renovation
Area: 1000 sf each, Typical Lab
Status: Completed 2009

The NYC School Construction Authority has been undertaking an installation of new science lab classrooms in elementary, intermediate and high schools across the city. Laura Heim Architect was approached by the prime engineering firm to be the architectural subconsultant for four classrooms in the Bronx and Queens (PS116Q, IS286X, IS190X and HS792Q). The design involved developing a new prototypical lab which combines prep space and demonstration space into the same classroom. The diagram which evolved led to a quadrant scheme which typically had an area for instruction, computers, equipment / sinks and storage.

For PS116Q, the school approached the team about completing a library renovation given the desire to conceal the extensive piping in the ceiling from the new lab above. The challenge provided the opportunity to sculpt the ceiling to retain maximum light from the existing tall windows while also maintaining the perception of the height of the ceiling.  A stepped dropped ceiling allowed the existing lighting fixtures to remain and gave the ceiling a new dramatic presence.

In addition, Laura Heim Architect has designed the renovation of 10 bathrooms in PS044X. The challenge was to provide ADA accessibility as well as new fixtures and finishes to upgrade the existing facilities.