The Ethical Cultural Fieldston School (ECFS) has opened the newly renovated Tate Library to its students, at its Riverdale Campus. Long considered a signature feature of the school’s picturesque campus, the Tate Library has been updated to better meet the needs of contemporary students. ECFS sought out Architecture Research Office (ARO), the New York City-based firm, to bring the library into the 21st century in accordance with the school’s mission of ethical learning, academic excellence, and progressive education.
With those ideals in mind, the Tate Library has been transformed with a spacious, open layout capable of providing greater access to books, information, and technology, enabling multiple methods of teaching and learning. Built in 1970, the Tate Library has served ECFS as a center for learning and a repository for information for close to half a century. The library’s new layout places offices, enclosed collaboration rooms, and support spaces around the perimeter, creating a flexible central space with bookstacks, group work areas, and places for individual study.
Custom glass fiber-reinforced gypsum (GFRG) ceilings are a key element of the acoustic strategy and incorporate new LED lighting. Careful zoning of activities combined with extensive sound absorption fosters an environment conducive to both individual and collaborative work throughout the library. Strategic placement of bookshelves and other furniture in the central commons strengthens visual connections, improves both the quantity and quality of daylight, and provides generous views of the surrounding wooded campus.
“The new Tate Library, integrating some 50,000 books with a variety of spaces for teaching and learning, is a platform for the entire campus,” said Adam Yarinsky, FAIA, principal of Architecture Research Office. “This project embodies both ECFS’s mission and ARO’s desire to create architecture that fosters connections between people and the places they occupy.” Sarah Danzig Simon, ECFS’s Assistant Head of School, explains, “ARO was instrumental in helping ECFS realize our dreams for the new Tate Library.
The team was hands-on every step of the way; their design philosophy aligns with our educational pedagogy, which made this an optimal partnership. We are thrilled with the end result and look forward to our students returning to the library.” The Tate Library, a cornerstone of the Fieldston educational experience, has been updated to embody the “pedagogical imagination and innovation” synonymous with the school.
The new layout, combined with state of the art technological and environmental systems, provides an improved user experience and enables the library to adapt to its changing needs. “The new Tate Library highlights ECFS’ physical collection, while recognizing that the library is an evolving model,” said Kim Yao, AIA, principal of Architecture Research Office. “We created a flexible environment for research, study, teaching and collaboration, that will support ECFS’ mission today and in the future.” Source by ARO photos Courtesy of EHKPR.