Postscript 64: The Reintegration of Public School (P.S.) 64
At the same time that P.S. 64 is much like other schools built in New York City at the turn of the century, the building has been “officially” vacant since 1977 when the school closed its doors. Since then, it has been occupied and unoccupied by various squatter groups, eventually becoming the Charas/El Bohio Cultural Center and an informal shelter for homeless individuals. The last 30 years of inactivity is a testament to the political failures of the local government and further, the importance of the building to the community. Given this importance, a serious level of sanctity is taken to the existing load-bearing masonry shell of the building while programmable CLT volumes on the interior are arranged like intricate three-dimensional puzzle pieces to test new spatial relationships. The volumes are clarified from the street by new window frames and rely on a new mass timber structural system for support and façade stabilization. With new plaza designs fronting 9th and 10th streets, with their own programmable volumes emerging from the depths of the after-school program in the basement, the project becomes a statement on designing in, out, and around the void of a highly-treasured West Village artifact, the existing masonry shell of P.S. 64.