During the lazy, hazy days of summer when school was closed, construction crews were hard at work building Dwight's new rooftop learning spaces, which have expanded our campus by nearly 1,500 square feet.
Known as SATURN and MARS, these state-of-the-art pavilions are flooded with natural light, and are equipped with provisions for solar energy and a platform for an external observatory.
It's no wonder they're named for two planets!
Plans for this exciting addition that connects our 88th Street and 89th Street rooftops were first envisioned when Dwight renovated the brownstone at 22 West 89th Street. Upon completion in 2012, attention turned upward. "The goal was to provide students with access to the outdoors within the parameters of an urban campus, and to design flexible spaces in which to spark opportunities for personalized learning and nurture the passions of students interested in the sciences, technology, or the visual and performing arts," explains Chancellor Stephen Spahn.
Barbara Marks, architect and parent of three Dwight graduates, designed SATURN and MARS, extending her 23-year tradition of partnering with Dwight on facilities projects. Such collaboration runs in the Marks family, in fact, as her husband, James Garvy, designed our hand-forged, iron "School of Spirit" doors at the entrance to 18 West 89th Street.
Bringing a contemporary eye to the rooftop design, Ms. Marks incorporated a variety of materials in her design, including those to create an open, airy feel. Clear resin panels below the roof provide the illusion that the ceiling is floating. The ceiling is finished with slatted fir wood panels, adding warmth and echoing the fence that surrounds our rooftop.
"I am delighted that students have responded so positively to these new spaces," reports Ms. Marks. "I smiled from ear to ear when I heard from Timothy House art teacher Amanda Thompson that one of her students said during class in MARS, 'I feel like I'm making art inside of art!' This is the best endorsement I could hope for!"