On Manhattan’s Upper East Side, the historical Birch Wathen Lenox School underwent extensive exterior forensic engineering and masonry wall renovations to bring this highly esteemed independent school to 21st century standards. In contrast to the existing nine story masonry building, Spectorgroup designed a multi-story addition featuring an metallic panel exterior facade. Double oculus windows plus arched fenestration creates a blend of classical design interwoven with contemporary materials.
The new top four floors encompass a Performing Arts Center that includes music platforms, acoustic wall and ceiling panels and instrument storage. The new penthouse addition was an extreme structural challenge to this high-rise pre-war masonry building.
The four-story addition of natural light to all spaces is a design challenge adopted by the project team. Renovations were also made to the gymnasium and art studio. The lunchroom became a new Commons area designed to incorporate student activities. As Birch Wathen Lenox resides within an urban residential area, the design is highly sensitive to its context.