New college’s architectural design opens up to East Harlem

August 15, 2011 01:29PM

The architectural design of Hunter College’s new Silberman School of
Social Work’s new East Harlem campus helps allows the building to fit
into the surrounding area, minimizing any perceived alienation of
nearby residents, the Wall Street Journal reported. Scott Newman, of
Cooper, Robertson and Partners, said that his goal was to give
passersby a sense of what is going on inside the school at its new location on third Avenue, between 118th and 119th streets.

“We didn’t
want it to be monolithic,” he told the Wall Street Journal. “It’s not
just some satellite of Hunter College, plopped down in the middle of
Harlem… It’s not some closed space where some mysterious scholastic
activity is going on.” Along 119th Street, an outdoor corridor lobby
of sorts will allow pedestrians to look inside to see students and
professors going through the building between classes.

In the second floor auditorium, a huge glass window between the stage
and the podium provides a view for students on to facades of a row of
classic, pre-war Harlem townhouses. The architecture will complement
the vision of school as an institution engaged in the community:
students are expected to engage in field work in East Harlem as part
of their classes. A security guard who works in the building and lives
nearby said that she thinks the existence of the school will change
the mentality of children, when they see students with books heading
to study at a school in East Harlem. [WSJ]