In 2011, Rockwell Group completed Blue School for pre-k and elementary students. The firm joined the early planning efforts for their new middle school in 2015, helping assess potential locations and conducting an extensive programming exercise for the new facility. The new Lower Manhattan location features a dedicated ground floor entry, new facade, and four levels of flexible modern classrooms and specialized learning spaces. Inspired by Blue School’s philosophy that students should collaborate and work together, Rockwell Group ensured that every space, from classrooms to hallways, creates moments for planned and spontaneous group learning and inspiration. A custom facade panel at the ground floor entry animates the street and a 10-foot-square exterior art wall can accommodate rotating artwork. Inside, a gallery-like reception contains ample room to display student work and neon yellow central stair knits together the multi-level school. The other principal space located on the ground floor is the school Commons, a pick-up and drop-off area, student lounge, study hall, café, and community space. The walls are lined with a system of tiered, planted trays that function as a small-scale urban garden in partnership with Brooklyn Grange. A variety of informal seating options, tinted concrete floor, and colorful outdoor furniture give the space a casual feeling. The second floor is dedicated to a mix of student classrooms, the school library, and teacher workspaces. Each classroom has a small area devoted to the quiet study and is configured slightly differently with raised carpeted platforms in saturated color schemes.
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