Designing New York Public Elementary School PS19:

In the heart of Queens, Marino Jeantet School is nestled in the hustle and bustle of New York. Students are immersed in education in this newly-built school addition designed for a new era, 2020 by MBB Architects.

In any setting, it is well recognized that natural light is essential for creating a school that is an effective learning environment and meets sustainability goals. But architects designing schools in big cities face additional challenges, such as restricted spaces, urban environmental acoustic issues from ambient noise, and building restrictions. ”

“One of the biggest building constraints was time. This project was built in a fast, 18 month time frame. Due to this slim timeline we needed a daylighting solution that interacted well with the precast, was an easy installation with no-questions for installers and eliminated hotspots and glare within the space.” said MBB Associate Architect, Michael Salinas.

Additionally, ensuring the envelope integrated a solid acoustical barrier from the beginning, to eliminate the intercity environmental noise and especially the #7 train running directly adjacent to the school. Traditional vision glass didn’t make the cut, because it couldn’t address glare and hotspots, and also provided only modest sound insulation abilities. Instead, MBB architects chose Solera® to provide visual, thermal and acoustical comfort.

MBB Technical Director, Tim Butler says: “There are two main reasons why Solera® was chosen. First, for its functionality of flushing an even distribution of natural light into the space with no hotspots and second, it created a beautiful aesthetic from a ribbon effect.”image2

Solera® made the difference to create superior visual, thermal and acoustical daylight for a beautiful and functional space. “This project had to fit the grid and we needed to find something else to bring natural light into the space in an integrated and responsible way.” continued Salinas. The natural daylight inside the PS19 Gymnasium is a perfect example of the power of superior daylighting. Students love being in this space during school hours, after school activities and weekend sport events. “Hotspots cause distraction for students playing spots in the gymnasium, especially a game like basketball. You wouldn’t be able to see the lines when playing causing disturbance in players ability and the game.” continued Butler.

With almost 3000 students to teach, educators, teachers and instructors embraced the new space with open arms. The abundant natural light entering this building from the north, south and west facing daylight windows help make this bright and airy gymnasium home to so many, 5 days a week.

Not only does Solera® provide a comfortable and natural daylighted space with a beautiful aesthetic. Additionally, it offers a significantly reduced energy load to the gymnasium by decreasing the electricity energy used by leaving the lights partially or fully off during daytime hours. “The lights could be turned off to do most activities in the gym during the daytime” continued Butler. Light redirecting glass for daylight made this space a student favorite for a comfortable gym every student loves to play in.

Solera®’s ability to, in one integrated solution, handle the daylighting, acoustic and thermal elements of this façade make it the optimal choice for this school. Advanced Glazings Ltd’s engineered light diffusers, Solera® and SoleraWall® are available in R values ranging from R2.2 – R25 for a precise configuration and control of light diffusion, illumination and thermal performance in your next project.

Photo credit: Frank Oudeman