The Dalton School, New Library Renovation

New York, New York

The project transformed a former gymnasium into a library/resource center for middle-school and upper-school students that also could serve as the school’s primary events venue.

The designers faced special challenges: construction on the tenth floor of an occupied building; accommodating a main floor, mezzanine, and HVAC within a total clear height of 15 feet; ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCOST PER SQ FT$286.00FEATURED IN2002 Educational InteriorsINTERIOR CATEGORYInterior Renovation a multipurpose reading room that could be reconfigured quickly for student functions or meetings of trustees, faculty or parents; providing for current and future technology throughout the library within the space constraints; and convincing technocrats that a modern library still needs books—and that low, accessible stacks require more floor area.

The renovation resulted in a simple, quiet design to provide rest from the visual activity generated by books, stacks, technology and young learners. A gently curved mezzanine reaches beyond the bounds of the library, embracing the main reading room and unifying the middle-school and upper-school libraries. A simple acoustical ceiling is gently washed by wall lighting, leaving the ceiling free from clutter. Natural light reaches all areas and views to the outside expand the space. A media wall permits rear-projection images in the main space.

Wireless technology reaches all points in the library, and hard ports maximize the speed of data access.