Public School 188 (The Island School) in the Lower East Side of Manhattan serves mainly homeless families, with almost 50% of enrolled students coming from nearby shelters. As the name of the school “Island School” suggests, the school is surrounded by a forest of NYCHA towers without enough access to public programs. Each day, when school is out, students have nowhere to go and wander the streets because the school facility is obsolete and not flexible enough to cater needs for after school programs.
The (floating) Island school is located on top of the existing building. By building on top, the new scheme better addresses new needs and privacy concerns for the school as well as transforms the existing building into a public building for the neighborhood. The school’s Layered Wall structure and organic shaped openings enable a flexible usage of space that allows different activities to happen.