Mary McDowell Friends School, Upper School

Brooklyn, New York

The Mary McDowell Friends School (MMFS) is a Quaker school that caters to students with learning disabilities. Building on 20 years of successful growth, MMFS decided to expand.

The new Upper School will find its home in a converted parochial school building and adjacent rectory in a landmark district of Brooklyn Heights. ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONFEATURED IN2011 Educational InteriorsINTERIOR CATEGORYInterior Work in ProgressSUB CATEGORYWork in Progress with the constraints of this existing building’s layouts and materials, the architects inserted new design elements and colors into the existing architecture.

The school gymatorium is being converted into a Quaker meeting room, an elegant, introspective place that also will function as a gym and theater. This transformation is accomplished through the judicious use of two complementary lighting systems and stackable chairs for configuring multiple layouts.

The furniture and finishes were chosen for their durability. In the classrooms, the architect designed a custom millwork "work wall" that includes a sink, refrigerator, printer, special telecom system and storage.

A later phase of the project will connect the two buildings with a contemporary glazed splice of circulation and engage the courtyard.