For nonprofit groups working for the greater good, design allies can be a valuable asset. Recently, Andrew Franz Architect and Union Settlement Association, a nonprofit resource for residents of New York’s East Harlem neighborhood, were paired by a charity-focused matchmaker. The goal of the pro bono project was mission-critical: Transforming multipurpose classrooms for adults and after-school kids’ facilities to be more uplifting, usable, and comfortable. As such, this classroom design project focused on delivering benefits to the children and adults who utilize the space.
More challenging, the work had to be inexpensive and lasting for the nonprofit client’s carefully monitored budget, too.
“Our work was to reimagine the classrooms creating an inspiring, adaptable, and healthy place for learning,” says Andrew Franz. “So we directed the improvements to things that had the most impact — not just visually, but also in terms of supporting effective education.”
The best value for groups like Union Settlement Association often start with fresh painting, lighting controls such as dimmers, and window treatment. Andrew Franz Architect also recommended new furniture, acoustical control, and educational additions such as whiteboards, pin-up boards, and cubbies — all in support of the group’s central mission.
“Best of all, through a team fundraising effort, most of the construction services and materials were donated,” Franz recalls. “This year students and teachers are enjoying a brighter, fresher, and more functional and fun spaces for growth and learning.”
Multiple layouts were created to meet the needs of multipurpose classroom design. Below are diagrams of options for the Union Settlement Association activities in the classrooms impacted the Andrew Franz Architect work (click to enlarge).