Reece School


Reece School

The building has had a transformative effect on the urban fabric around it. It is seen as uplifting to the neighborhood and the students look forward to returning to their school each day.

The Reece School is a non-profit private elementary school with a curriculum designed to aid young students with learning and social challenges. Having outgrown the brownstones in which the school began and matured its program, the Reece School engaged PBDW to design a new urban facility on East 104th Street, organized to respond to its students’ special needs.

The use of color played an important role in the design of the building. Sun shining through colored glass panels incorporated into the curtain wall provides a splash of color in each classroom that moves throughout the day. The color combination differs in each room and the unique pattern allows children to identify their classrooms from outside the building. A more subtle palette is used to give each floor a color theme which serves as a way-finding aid for students.

The School is equipped with classrooms, quiet rooms, a multi-purpose gymnasium, a student library and an art/music room which overlooks a large play roof. The program also provides for occupational & speech therapy rooms and counseling offices. In contrast to the former brownstones, the school’s atmosphere is now much more akin to that of a more traditional school, to which the students typically transition. Yet the spaces still permit small group learning and the close staff/student interaction that the school’s program requires.


Reece School


New York, NY

Date Completed



American Architecture Award, 2008

AIA New York State Design Award, 2008

Boston Society of Architects / AIA K-12 Design Award, 2007

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