PS 109 was built in 1898 during a time when 'idealism' was deemed important in public education. The "neo-Gothic palace" with its steeply, pitched roofs, gargoyle statues, copper roof turrets and Tudor arches give the building a glamorous presence on E 99th Street. Throughout the 20th Century, the building deteriorated until it was abandoned by the Department of Education in the 1990's.
The school sat abandoned for 15 years until Artspace bought the building. Artspace is a non-profit organization that provides spaces which are designed for a live/work environment, structured for artistic collaboration and inspiration. The firm chosen to design and oversee the restoration was Hamilton Houston Lownie Architects in Buffalo, NY. They collaborated with Wilson Morales Architect of Brooklyn on the design aspects of the project.
90 loft units were created with the General Contractor, Monadnock Construction, Inc., who has been in business for over 40 years in Brooklyn. The project won six awards highlighting the attention to detail on the restoration from all involved. Part of the design was the restoration of large glass block stairwell walls, stretching to the top of the building on the East and West elevations. There were also new glass block and steel skylights drawn in at various locations in the North and South courtyards. For supply and install of these products, Monadnock retained GBA Architectural Products + Services.
GBA knows the importance of preparation for these unique jobs. The submittal process led to product options being determined to best resemble the original design on the stairwells. With our large inventory of glass block, this was made easier. The products chosen were 12" x 12" x 4" clear glass block units. The skylights were to be fabricated of a white, powder coated steel frame and glazed with 8" x 8" glass pavers. The prefabricated system was brought to the site in completed sections and set in place with mobile equipment. GBA's preparation before arriving on site made for a smooth installation process. The glass block in the stairwells and the skylights in the courtyards provided maximum light transmission to interior spaces, perfectly meeting the architects design vision.