C.B.J. Snyder
B. 1860 Stillwater, New York
D. 1945 Babylon, New York


C.B.J. Snyder studied at Cooper Union in NYC and began the practice of architecture in 1883.  In the 1880s he worked with William E. Bishop, a New York City master carpenter.  Snyder was a prolific American architect, architectural engineer, and mechanical engineer in the field of urban school building design and construction, and was New York City's public-school architect in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.


Snyder served as Superintendent of School Buildings for the New York City Board of Education between 1891 and 1923. As Superintendent, Snyder, who worked in styles that included Beaux Arts, English Collegiate Gothic, Jacobean, and Dutch Colonial, is credited with the design of over 400 structural projects — including elementary schools, high schools, and many additions and alterations. He saw school buildings as civic monuments for a better society and at the end of the 19th century part of his mission was to put stately schools in low-income neighborhoods. 


Snyder’s vision of school buildings epitomized the country’s emerging beliefs that sunlight and ventilation were cures for urban ailments in slums.  In 1896 Snyder began designing his first "H-plan," which provided two side courts. He chose mid-block locations to minimize city noise, and hung large, three-tiered windows on all sides of the buildings, ensuring ample light and breeze.  Snyder was concerned with health and safety issues in public schools and focused on fire protection, ventilation, lighting, and classroom size. He used terra cotta blocks in floor construction to improve fireproofing, and large and numerous windows to allow more light and air into the classrooms.


Snyder served on the American Society of Heating and Ventilating Engineers’ Board of Governors from 1900 to 1904, and was elected President in 1907. He joined the American Institute of Architects in 1901 and was elevated to Fellow in 1905. His notable architectural structures include PS 17, now the City Island Museum in the Bronx; and NYC Landmarks PS 27, PS 31, and Morris High School in the Bronx; Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn; and Stuyvesant High School (1907-1997) in New York City.


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