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Pratt Institute's Stabile Hall

Pasanella + Klein Stolzman + Berg, PKSB

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Project Description

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.” —John Morris Dixon, FAIA

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
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