Helpern Architects

St Francis Academic Center

Brooklyn, NY
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.