Natural light, color, transparency, materiality, sustainability, and movement are the design principles that guided the renovation of Beth Yeshurun Day School. While the adjacent synagogue references the proud tradition of the congregation, the design for the new school celebrates the future. Using a game of words and images, the team realized a shared vision to create a brighter more child friendly space and devised a strategy to tie these ideas into the way children learn and experience the school. Classrooms that did not have visual access to the exterior now have skylights, bringing natural light into those spaces. The existing beige palette was brightened with colors that also act as way finding tools within the school. The classrooms are now organized around an interior courtyard in the new library. This common space is the heart of the school, both spiritually and physically, and light, colors and transparency attracts even the most reluctant reader.
The angle of the traditional doorpost “mezuzah” at the front entry is referenced in the diagonal line of the entry lobby. Hallways that had been long and straight now encourage diagonal paths of travel and bring movement into traditionally static spaces. The library, multi-purpose room, and computer lab, create a physical transparency that activates areas in and around these programmed elements, connecting interior spaces and providing visual access throughout the building.