Repurposed buidings always make our hearts happy, but when they’re converted into learning spaces, well, we’re head over heels. The Bronx Charter School for Arts is a perfect example of an old factory turned new again for a great reason. Built with 80% repurposed materials, the incredible learning environment features a multitude of cost-cutting strategies as well as many sustainable features.
Located in the Hunts Point neighborhood of the Bronx, the school’s design was focused on converting the old factory space into light-filled spaces that provide an energetic, healthy learning environment. Although the project budget was quite restrictive to the building process, the architects strategically used a number of creative (and sustainable!) measures to keep costs down.
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Taking advantage of the local community and future teaching staff, the design team was able to integrate Bronx Art’s educational mission into the design. The architects decided to use the existing facade structure from the old factory, but covered the exterior with an insulated layer of bright, multi-hued bricks. Along with improving the school’s insulation and using repurposed materials, the colorful facade was designed to enhance the building’s welcoming presence in the neighborhood, enticing the community to participate through the arts.
On the interior, the factory’s open spaces and minimal divisions were safeguarded to provide an open, continuous space that encourages transparency and open communication among the pupils and staff. The classrooms were simply enhanced and conceived as art studio spaces rather than traditional rigid class blocks.
On the interior, large windows were used where possible to filter fresh air and achieve the optimal amount of natural light in order to illuminate the building, again encouraging a lively space for productivity and, at the same time, cutting energy use and cost.