Helpern Architects

St Francis Academic Center

New York, New York
St Francis College
60,000 sf

The last of the projects from Helpern Architects’ master plan to expand the Brooklyn Heights land-locked campus of “the small college with big dreams,” St. Francis’ new 35,000-sf Academic Center adjoined and shared vertical circulation with the main building.

Built to high standards of sustainability, the new Academic Center housed classrooms, the library, a theater/lecture hall, a cyber lounge, and academic offices. The concurrent restoration of the existing building revealed its original classical motifs.

The triple-height library included reading rooms and offices, some of them dramatic spaces. The Communication Arts area on the top floor has a combined 90-seat black box theater/lecture hall and TV production studio.

Sustainable design features to the Academic Center include in-floor air distribution, prismatic glass to enable daylight to penetrate deeply into spaces on the south side of the building, and non-toxic materials.

In addition, state-of-the-art information technology systems included wireless access to the school’s intranet and “smart boards” in the classrooms.