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Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School

This K-12 school is one of the oldest institutions on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Committed to expanding and modernizing its facilities, Columbia Grammar engaged IBI Group to design two-separate expansion and renovation/consolidation projects for their Lower and Middle Schools.

Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School
New York, NY
2016 Completed
2-storey expansion (7 total) Storeys

This historic Upper West Side preparatory school is as prestigious as the area itself. Our design is an innovative contribution to the school’s ongoing effort to provide state-of-the-art facilities in this Upper West Side Historic District.

Lower School (Pre-Kindergarten – Grade 5)
In 2014, this expansion involved combining seven historic brownstone townhouses, adding another classroom floor, and adding a new gymnasium with a rooftop play area. As part of the building consolidation, IBI’s architects replaced the existing fire escapes at the rear of the brownstones with new open corridors and fire stairs, and added an elevator to provide handicapped access to all floors.

Middle School (Grades 6 – 8)
As of 2017, this addition involved adding two new floors to an existing 1980’s era, 5-storey building. We developed a design solution involving the addition of two floors at both the lower and upper roofs of the building and the addition of two floors to the 93rd Street setback. In addition, we proposed building a distinctive “hat” for the expanded structure. These solutions are both unobtrusive and respectful of the existing architecture – and they deliver an individualized, visually interesting addition to the campus.

IBI’s design team had to overcome many challenges including extensive landmark and preservation approval processes, significant structural modifications and construction in an occupied building. Our design was respectful of the existing architecture and provided an individualized, visually interesting addition to the campus.

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Award of Merit


Adaptive Reuse/Historic Preservation,
By American Institute of Architects

A new generation of minds is reshaping the way we approach education at all levels of learning. Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School looks to the future of education with a nod to New York’s architectural past.

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