Van Nest Academy

Bronx, New York

  • FIRM

    PKSB Architects


    Civic Builders and New York City School Construction Authority

  • AREA

    124,426 sq.ft.





The Van Nest Academy combined two schools in one facility. It houses both a traditional public school for the School Construction Authority (SCA) and K-8 charter school for a private developer. The project marks a groundbreaking strategic partnership between Civic Builders, the NYC Department of Education and the NYCSCA.

Bronx ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCAPACITY911COST PER SQ FT$419.50FEATURED IN2012 Architectural Portfolio District 11 had suffered from intense academic and capacity needs. Recognizing the severity of the problem, the NYCSCA made the district a priority in its capital plan. Following the SCA’s lead, Civic Builders spent a year working with city council and community board members to gain support for the development of a new education facility. With the help of the architect, this new combined school facility was realized.

The building’s design responds to its urban setting in a densely populated Bronx neighborhood. The school sits on two distinctly different streets. Bronxdale Avenue is a wide thoroughfare with various commercial and manufacturing buildings. Van Nest Avenue is a one-lane roadway lined with small one-family homes. The building responds to both conditions by stepping down along the narrower street and up on the wider one. Similarly, the facade on the residential street is red brick, reflecting the tonality of the adjacent buildings. On Bronxdale, where the building is taller, a light-color brick is used.

From the outside, the two schools appear to be in separate but interlocking buildings. Each has its own entry and unique sense of identity. On the interior, the two schools are woven together by grand shared public spaces. Pedestrians have a full view into the two-story lobby.