Christ & Saint Stephen’s Church was originally built as a country chapel in 1876 and is the oldest standing church on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, with a well-regarded concert series and services for the disadvantaged. The design Church’s Day School spaces required a sensitive and sophisticated architectural approach to integrate new architecture with an existing church while at the same time providing an architectural expression appropriate to the early childhood learning environment.
The second floor is modeled after the one-room schoolhouse where the children rotate through the spaces as related to the curriculum that accommodates morning and afternoon sessions. The character of this space is influenced by its position directly above the sanctuary’s vaulted ceiling and organ chamber. The design chooses to make this a visual statement and also provides an acoustical solution to sound traveling between church and school.