Poly Prep Lower School

education & preservation

Poly Prep Lower School

"The completed building has strengthened our school community (and) improved the educational and human experience... It is a happy building."
- Launa Schweitzer, Lower School Head

The school’s existing limestone “castle” sits prominently at the corner of a quiet residential street in Brooklyn’s Park Slope Historic District. PBDW’s addition serves as a transition between the vastly different architecture of the row houses and the prominently articulated Hulbert Mansion. In order that the new building neither obscure the mansion nor overshadow the row-houses, its height was limited and the connecting corridor to the mansion was recessed from the facade. A raised landscaped base and below-grade gym, combined with a dramatic sloping skylight across the third floor dance studio gives this four-story structure the appearance of a two-story building. Inside, the two buildings are seamlessly connected on every floor by a continuous hallway, designed to create an identifiable and enjoyable transition between the architecture of the modern addition and the historic mansion.

The school includes homerooms for nursery through grade four, a multi-purpose room, dining and music rooms, dance and art studios, administrative offices, and a new ADA-compliant entrance to the school. The new classrooms are inviting, daylight-filled environments with views of the street through the generously sized windows. They were designed in an asymmetrical L-shaped configuration to replicate the coziness of the mansion’s beloved nooks and bays, allow for simultaneous use of the space for different activities and to enable small group learning. A new glass-clad stair tower overlooks the hustle and bustle of the landscaped playground, connecting circulating students to the outdoors and to the activities of the larger school community.

This project was completed on a fast-track basis, within 23 months from programming to occupancy.


Poly Prep Country Day School


50 Prospect Park West, Brooklyn, New York

Date Completed



Lucy G. Moses Award
New York Landmarks Conservancy, 2009

Building Brooklyn Award
Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, 2008

Sustainable Design

LEED Silver

First K-12 school in the state of New York to earn LEED certification.

Similar Projects