Landscape Architect & Specifier News

SEP 2018

LASN is a photographically oriented, professional journal featuring topics of concern and state-of-the-art projects designed or influenced by registered Landscape Architects.

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Page 53 of 133

Guided by an educational tradition to nurture the "whole person: body, mind, and spirit," St. Hilda's & St. Hugh's School in Manhattan's Morningside Heights neighborhood embarked on an extensive "greening" initiative to better serve its diverse pre-K through 8th grade community. The curriculum of this independent school is one "which encourages in students a respect for nature and human achievement, as well as a love of art, music, drama, and athletics." The location of the school's 1960's era Brutalist building, a dense urban environment, meant that their only existing outdoor space was a confining, caged playground on the roof deck of the gymnasium. RKLA Studio Landscape Architecture, partnering with Murphy, Burnham, & Buttrick Architects, was challenged to create an urban outdoor environment that supports physical health, unique play, environmental education, and quiet study. A lack of suitable outdoor space is a common problem for many NYC school playgrounds, but if one can make the most of a small space, creativity can allow something little to seem like something much bigger. The 7,400-square-foot roof deck is divided into three distinct landscapes. An existing steel cage required by city code and covering the entire space was reconfigured to only cover the ball play area, which was redesigned as an artificial landscape evoking expansive natural environments of field and sky. A radiant snowmelt system ensures year-round Above: Located in the middle of busy Upper West Side Manhattan, the children of St. Hilda's and St. Hugh's School spend their recess time on a small rooftop play deck. Atop the 7,400-square-foot roof deck are three distinct landscapes: a ball play area, a playground, and an outdoor classroom. PHOTO: FRANK OUDEMAN / OTTO 54 Landscape Architect and Specifier News Pla ygr ound Landscape Architecture by RKLA Studio SKY in the

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