Sea Cliff Elementary School, Expansion and Transformation

Sea Cliff, New York

  • FIRM

    Peter Gisolfi Associates


    North Shore School District

  • AREA

    61,000 sq.ft.





Sea Cliff Elementary School was built in 1912 and received an addition in 1928. It was configured as a series of dead-end, double-loaded corridors that serviced classrooms of about 600 square feet each. The client wanted to preserve the architectural style of the building and give new life to the school by providing standard-size classrooms (800 square feet each), a ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCAPACITY400COST PER SQ FT$164.00FEATURED IN2004 Architectural Portfolio library (2,600 square feet instead of 700), and a different circulation scheme.

The school was transformed by eliminating undersized classrooms and replacing them with 18 new classrooms in two wings of three floors each. The placement of the new wings organized the circulation pattern of the building by creating continuous, predominantly single-loaded corridors that surround two courtyards. The new circulation pattern also provided the opportunity to situate the library at the center of the school on the top floor in a place previously occupied by undersized classrooms. (In the original 1912 building, this space was the gym. In 1928, it was turned into undersized classrooms on a double-loaded corridor.)

The school has become a place of daylight, movement and interaction. It is a place that fosters a sense of school community, and it provides standard-sized classrooms, correctly programmed common spaces and new life for an old building.