District 20 Pre-K Honored at New York Design Week!

Posted by on Jul 16, 2018 in Educate, General, News, What We've been Up To | No Comments
District 20 Pre-K Honored at New York Design Week!

Doban Architecture’s design for the district 20 pre-k was a 2018 NYCxDESIGN/ Interior Design Magazine honoree in May!

The eighteen-classroom, 34,000 SF District 20 PreK Center at 1423 62nd Street accommodates 324 students and is one of the largest facilities constructed under New York City Mayor DiBlasio’s signature Universal PreK Initiative. Both inside and out, this lively adaptive re-use project brings a community facility with an engaging, welcoming presence to a unique corner of Brooklyn’s evolving west Bensonhurst manufacturing area and the surrounding residential neighborhoods.

Before construction 

The project was constructed by the New York City School Construction Authority (SCA) for the New York City Department of Education in a leased former Nabisco warehouse building, originally constructed in 1925 and most recently used as a women’s undergarment store—“Underworld”.



The project responds thoughtfully to a rather intense industrial environment at the confluence of three rail lines, but also brings focus within the site, creating a kid-friendly urban oasis. Located in a manufacturing district, the site is bounded to the immediate west by the elevated D train line, to the north by a relatively inactive LIRR train cut.

In response to these constraints, the building entrance was moved from its long-standing location in the shadow of the elevated on the corner of 62nd Street and New Utrecht Avenue to the side of the building furthest away from the train, where a new entrance canopy and forecourt/play area could be established.

The bright yellow accent colors pick up on the painted lines of the nearby train platform and surrounding roads…

and are also carried through to the color of the structural support of the iconic steel and wood canopy.

The project is the first SCA project to use a fiber-cement rain screen cladding system. The building’s original masonry façade was found to be in poor condition and was concealed by stucco cladding. Given time constraints and the unknowns associated with painstaking masonry restoration, the facade was designed using the alternative panelized rain screen approach. Recladding the building also became an opportunity to introduce color and pattern into the façade through the panelized system, and also afforded the chance to insulate the entire exterior wall of the existing uninsulated building. The window pattern was carefully established based on the locations of existing windows in the warehouse building.

and the needs of the classrooms and program spaces. The project makes good on the mayor’s promise to provide “Pre-K for All” quite literally, not only by virtue of the sheer capacity of the project (324 students) and its number of classrooms, but in the quality of the offerings both physical and educationally.

For the interiors, where use of materials pre-approved by the SCA is derigeur, innovative patterns were established using those standard materials to give the facility a unique character. This extends to corridor wall treatment


as well as floor treatments within the classrooms.

A sky-lit, open. wood entry stair, with unique perforated metal risers, is a focal point of the building interior, and brings an expansive feel to the building from within.


The building certainly makes good on the mayor’s promise to provide “Pre-K for All,” by virtue of its capacity as well as the inspiring and welcoming setting. On a recent visit, it was observed that the facility serves a predominantly Asian-American population and provides Chinese language instruction alongside art activities focused on western impressionist masters and contemporary artists. The building includes two indoor recreational spaces as well as an outdoor playground, and food preparation facilities. It is designed to be adaptable so that it might serve older students from kindergarten through 2nd grade depending on future needs.




Leave a Reply