N.Y.C. Board of Education. 1595 Bathgate Avenue

Architect and Structural Engineer: John Ciardullo Associates
General Contractor: DeMatteis Construction



Designed in neo-Constructivist style, this educational complex houses three small public high schools: Bronx Mott Hall High School; Validus Prepatory Academy; and Urban Assembly School for Applied Math and Science—which includes grades 6-12.   Each school entrance is dramatically set off by either a red, yellow, or green wall of high-gloss aluminum plating against which steel-framed staircases seem to float behind glass. Large skylights flood the second floor lobbies with natural light while the school’s signature colors define their individual classroom and administrative spaces. Careful schedule coordination makes it possible for each school to share common first floor areas—cafeteria, recreation room, library, art studio and music room.


Located in a mixed residential and commercial area, the Bathgate Educational Campus is 140,000 square feet and takes up an entire city block. The site’s original building, a one-story 68,000 square feet warehouse owned by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, was made available to the New York City School Construction Authority (NYCSCA) for its lease program. 


The architects faced a number of challenges in constructing the Bathgate Educational Campus. NYCSCA required that the primary vertical and horizontal steel frame in the old structure be used in the new construction.  Reuse of the frame was actually a cost savings since 84.5 tons of steel were salvaged for the new construction.  Another challenge was that the soil bearing capacity of the site would not support a second floor.  This necessitated extensive foundation reinforcement and drilling of steel piles to bedrock. The resulting second floor and roof modifications added volume and called for a higher elevation. To stay within project deadline, the steel columns and roof girders had to be shipped to the fabricator MoMetal’s factory in Quebec, Canada for splicing and welding.


This educational complex is energy and space efficient, while also offering a successful example of adaptive reuse of steel.


Janet Butler Munch