Landscape Architect & Specifier News

JUN 2015

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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80 Lan dscape Architect and Specifier News The Montessori School on Suffolk Street on the Lower East Side, NYC, is giving way to the new Elements Preschool, a center billed as emphasizing natural elements and learning outside of the traditional classroom. The owner, Ms. Shilpa Sethi, wants to create a learning environment for young kids to reconnect them with nature and natural processes: a good idea, but making that happen on Manhattan's Lower East Side, one of the most urbanized neighborhoods in the country, is a tricky proposition. The Lower East Side is between the Bowery and the East River and Canal Street and Houston Street. Historically, it's been an immigrant working-class neighborhood, but that has changed. There was the construction of the Blue Condominium, a modern16-story luxury condominium tower in 2007. That edifice, compared to the rest of the neighborhood, looked like it was set down from another planet. The subsequent erection of several other new upscale condos buildings and more high-end shops and dining establishments, has over the last 10 years promulgated the gentrification of the Lower East Side. The realization of Sethi's vision for a new Elements Pre-K has been produced in the design of Central Landscape Architecture (CLA) of New York City. The landscape architecture firm certainly understood Ms. Sethi's desire to bring more nature to urban youngsters. The firm has noticed a deficiency in the nature connection for all Above As the landscape architects started the design work for the new pre-k school on Manhattan's Lower East Side at 99 Suffolk Street and Delancey Street, they quickly realized the site was the opposite of what they would want for an outdoor playing and learning area. The space is a narrow corridor going straight back from the street, then making a right angle right turn. Picture a "L" upside down. Sunlight is limited, there's a deep stairwell (safety hazard), buildings loom overhead. The inevitable razor wire adds a prison-like touch. For the entry, the designers needed to preserve enough open space for arrivals/departures, but propose a mural, outdoor chalkboards, a tile wall (right) with all past students' names and a rock walk into the main play area. RENDERINGS: CULTURE NINE PRODUCTIONS, JACOB HART, PRINCIPAL OGDEN, UTAH BEFORE

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