Pratt Institute's Stabile Hall in New York's Brooklyn borough breaks student housing into massing that reflects the scale of its surrounding neighborhood.
Paul Warchol Pratt Institute's Stabile Hall in New York's Brooklyn borough breaks student housing into massing that reflects the scale of its surrounding neighborhood.


1999 P/A Awards Citation

When Pratt Institute, the venerable art and design school in New York’s Brooklyn borough, decided to build new student housing in the 1990s, it held an invited design competition. The winner was New York–based Pasanella + Klein Stolzman + Berg, now known as PKSB.

The dorm was to be situated in one corner of the school’s urban campus, near some well-preserved townhouses and low-rise apartment buildings. The PKSB scheme divided the program’s 128 two-student rooms among several volumes that reflected the neighborhood’s scale—a long bar on the campus side and three almost cubic wings facing the community. Interior amenities that helped the architects to win the commission—and the P/A citation—were the exceptional shared spaces they were able to add to the program, within the budget: several double-height project studios and a large, equally high entrance lobby that was intended to double as a gallery or a theater.

Some proposed exterior features were revised on the way to construction. While much of the building is clad with brick, which is in harmony with its older neighbors, all-glass cladding was specified for the upper floors of the campus-facing long bar and on the recessed areas of the wing walls. Between concept and completion, this glass was replaced variously by panels of factory-painted steel and translucent Kalwall, preserving the design’s concept, if not its material.

As often happens, the Progressive Architecture Awards jury’s decision reflects some recorded differences. While juror Eva Jiricna, Hon. FAIA, professed that “it doesn’t make me feel ‘Wow,’ ” juror Billie Tsien, AIA, praised the design for handling potentially mundane program elements with “elegance.”

1999 P/A Awards Jury
Thomas Fisher, Assoc. AIA
Eva Jiricna, Hon. FAIA
Rodolfo Machado, Intl. Assoc. AIA
Billie Tsien, AIA
Mehrdad Yazdani, Assoc. AIA

On the campus side of the building, a long bar houses double-height project studios.
Paul Warchol On the campus side of the building, a long bar houses double-height project studios.

Stabile Hall's double-height entrance lobby can also be a small gallery or theater.
Paul Warchol Stabile Hall's double-height entrance lobby can also be a small gallery or theater.

Although the original proposal from PKSB called for extensive glass cladding, much of it was actually built with Kalwall.
Paul Warchol Although the original proposal from PKSB called for extensive glass cladding, much of it was actually built with Kalwall.

The mostly-brick exterior of the neighborhood-facing volumes help Stabile Hall relate to its community.
Paul Warchol The mostly-brick exterior of the neighborhood-facing volumes help Stabile Hall relate to its community.

A view between two of the residential volumes affords views to the academic bar building beyond.
Paul Warchol A view between two of the residential volumes affords views to the academic bar building beyond.