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The Brearley School




New York, N.Y.
Architect: KPMB Architects

OAA Design Excellence Awards Winner

Energy Efficiency and Carbon Stability

Architects must play a role in stabilizing the climate change crisis, lowering greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in favour of clean power. This year, the OAA required Energy Usage Intensity (EUI) metrics as part of its awards submissions. The lower the number, the less impact the building has on our climate. To learn more, click here.

TEUI: 108 kWh/m²a (based on gross area)

Designed with the goal of “cultivating the adventurous intellect” and to “unlock the full
power and potential of the Brearley program and community,” the design is conceived as a mini-vertical campus with flexible, light-filled multi-purpose learning landscape integrated with a lobby, makerspace, and a 600-seat auditorium. The new 21st century learning environment builds on the academic reputation of The Brearley School. The narrative is a story of progression and growth that supports learning from kindergarten to Grade 12, from the youngest girl entering Brearley to graduation of supremely well-equipped, independent thinking, young women into the global environment.

After 85 years at 610 East 83rd St., the school had outgrown its original building, doubled the student body and fully amortized its once progressive facilities. The preferred route was to ‘add on’ by building a new 75,000-sf building a block west from the original building. The new building is the ‘gateway’ to the Brearley campus, housing the ‘school house’ for the Lower School. The narrative evolved around the compelling vision of ‘one school’ in two buildings to form an expanded campus that expresses the progressive spirit of the school while honouring past generations.

Designed as a LEED Gold teaching tool, the building allows students to participate in sustainable features, including a green roof to be planted and maintained by the students as part of the science curriculum, rainwater collection to use at the green roof, and natural ventilation that requires students participation to engage and has the potential to reduce mechanical system use by up to 800 hours annually. The enthusiasm for an eco-friendly building progressed as the design evolved, and inspired the school to embark on the adaptive reuse of its original building with goals to create a net-zero campus by 2050.

The building opened in September 2019, and has been instrumental to allowing the Brearley to increase its student population, and provide opportunity to more girls to empower its mission to cultivate the adventurous intellect and unlock the full power and potential of the Brearley program and community. Studies are repeatedly demonstrating gender diversity is fundamentally beneficial to organizational success, for problem-solving, ethical leadership, collaboration, mentorship, and financial results. The design of the Brearley is fundamentally designed to prepare young girls and women to be our future leaders—open, transparent, technologically equipped, sustainable, and integrated to promote collaboration and interaction.
Image Credit: Nic Lehoux 

Image Credit: Nic Lehoux 

Image Credit: Nic Lehoux 
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