Urban Assembly High School of Music & Art

Brooklyn, NY

This 40,000 sq ft adaptive reuse project transformed a warehouse into a high school for the arts.  MDSA achieved it through the inventive application of NYC Board of Education standards.

Changing the former industrial building into a teaching environment for 440 art and music students meant working creatively within the facility’s structural grid while taking advantage of the large perimeter windows.  The centerpiece is a centrally located, dramatic double-height space that connects the two, large 20,000 sq ft floors and introduces natural light deep into the school’s core.

The Urban Assembly houses 18 flexible classrooms that accommodate annual fluctuations in student population; science and art instructional spaces including wet areas and dedicated laboratories; an exercise room; administrative spaces and a complete kitchen and dining facility.  Bright colors give the interiors a graphic vitality and in combination with display niches for artwork provide an environment that encourages individual expression.  The entire project was accomplished in eight months.