The New International High School in Paterson, N.J., embodies the efforts of a dedicated steering committee of educators, parents, students and the architect. Careful planning generated programming and design goals to celebrate diversity and promote global awareness in an atmosphere of CAPACITY612COST PER SQ FT$321.00FEATURED IN2009 Architectural Portfolio excellence.
The 115,000-square-foot facility, a dynamic environment for 600 students, is massed in distinct architectural blocks. At the center, instructional spaces ring a three-story atrium where circulation, via a monumental stair, overlooks Paterson’s historic downtown. The sawtooth roof monitors, reminiscent of local industrial architecture, draw light through the core.
The auditorium, at the highest elevation, houses performances, student roundtable activities and conflict resolution modeled on United Nations practices. The gymnasium is adjacent to small athletic fields at the lower end of the site. In the central block, the media center, with expansive windows, and cafeteria flank the atrium. Such public spaces, on the first two floors, accommodate secure, shared community use. Upper floors house classrooms, labs and faculty workrooms.
Site constraints and proximity to traffic required a unique design solution. The vertical axis of the atrium provides an internal focus to encourage student interchange. Materials and finishes evoke a collegiate atmosphere of civic responsibility and stewardship.