Our first insight on vertical schools described why some jurisdictions are electing to construct multi-story school buildings. This post will explore how three different areas - Manhattan in New York City; Washington, DC; and Arlington, Virginia - are building "up", not "out".
In the last installment, we discussed how the current shift in the U.S. population from far-flung suburbs to the urban cores is affecting land availability and value. Our very own Carl Elefante, FAIA, FAPT, LEED AP BD+C 2018 American Institute of Architects President and a principal at QEA, recently wrote in Architect magazine that this trend toward urbanization is one of three key "threshold moments" for architecture in 2018. In order for schools in increasingly urbanized areas to keep up with growing enrollment, some tough programmatic and financial decisions need to take place.
The second installment will present solutions used by three different school districts to balance the competing requirements of classroom and recreational space when the building footprint is limited. These precedents cover a range of densities we see in much of today's built environment, and particularly in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.
Perhaps the most extreme domestic example of the need for schools to go vertical can be found in the New York City borough of Manhattan. With a population density of over 69,000 people per square mile, the borough is the densest area in the country.*
A majority of Manhattan schools lack any outdoor space but this does not necessarily preclude school-sponsored physical education programs and recreational opportunities. Schools in Manhattan often leverage the island's many parks and recreation centers in addition to any on-site spaces such as the gymnasia, dining halls, or rooftops; the students' "gym" can encompass the entire island of Manhattan with its many resources.
Manhattan, New York. One of the most urbanized areas in the U.S., where schools leverage their surrounding context for outdoor recreation and education spaces due to the lack of space on-site.