Corona 3K Center

Circular‘s Corona 3K Center showcases equitable sustainability through adaptive reuse, addressing community needs while significantly reducing environmental impact and energy consumption.

  • area / size 18,000 sqft
  • Completed 2023
  • Circular’s Corona 3K Center exemplifies equitable sustainability through its architectural design and construction methodology, delivering a multitude of benefits to occupants, the community, and the environment.

    Working under the New York City School Construction Authority’s fast-track 3K Capacity Program, Circular created a new preschool for the community by taking over a partially constructed commercial building and quickly revising the design to incorporate high performance infrastructure, facades, and nurturing learning spaces.

    Through a commitment to high performance sustainability rooted in Passive House principles, the adaptive reuse project significantly reduces energy consumption and embodied carbon, thereby lessening its environmental impact, lowering operational costs, and quickly providing badly needed pre-school seats to a rapidly growing neighborhood.

    Program & Site
    Seven classrooms on two floors are supported by a medical room, general office, staff room, and parent’s lounge. The upper floor is home to a bright and cheerful padded playroom, while the cellar contains the school’s kitchen, technical, and utility spaces.

    Corona 3K is located in Corona, Queens, one of the fastest growing neighborhoods in New York City, with more than 30% of its residents under 18 years old. As an under-served area with a large population of newly arrived families, quality public childcare is in high demand.

    The Roosevelt Avenue corner site is on a busy commercial corridor fronted by an elevated subway train and heavy vehicular traffic. The design and engineering prioritized creating excellent indoor air quality, ensuring that occupants are shielded from outdoor pollutants, while also providing mitigation of outside noise.

    In order to reduce waste and meet an aggressive time schedule, the adaptive reuse of the partially completed building preserved the vast majority of the structure and infill materials already in place. Circular reworked the design for the under-construction spec building to develop an updated exterior, core, and interior layouts to meet stringent school standards and enhanced energy performance targets.

    The building’s colorful exteriors stand out as a beacon within the surrounding streetscape to attract local parents and children to the services offered within. Playful custom geometric wall tiles and an illuminated oculus overhead anchor the lobby’s welcome desk and set the stage for the school’s color-coded corridors and classrooms.

    Recessed tile bands become a continuous strip of tackboards, creating linear galleries showcasing student artworks in the hallways. Each classroom is identifiable by a signature color used for doors, frames, accent floor tiles, millwork, and interior elements, echoing the building’s polychromic exterior palette.

    The classrooms, offices, and support spaces were all designed by Circular to meet stringent school health, durability, and functionality requirements, while incorporating fixtures and finishes from a short list of pre-approved manufacturers to reduce lead times. All entrances, classrooms, and support spaces meet strict standards for both adult and child accessibility, including accommodating toddler-sized fixtures and hardware.

    Circular achieved considerable enhancements to sustainability and comfort in this project by incorporating Passive House principles in design and construction.

    Passive House is a set of design strategies and efficiency standards that strictly regulate the amount of energy a building can use, and when implemented correctly, guarantees a very high level of comfort for the people inside.

    Circular developed a hybrid wall assembly that improved the existing infill materials with a continuous air barrier, significant amounts of additional wall, and roof insulation to dramatically boost thermal performance.

    The mass of the existing concrete block infill was leveraged to act in concert with the new insulation layers, assembly air gaps, and new locally-produced triple pane windows to mitigate the noise of the elevated subway train, which passes less than ten feet from the upper windows.

    A rooftop Dedicated Outdoor Air mechanical system efficiently preconditions, dehumidifies, and filters fresh air to provide extremely high levels of indoor air quality and comfort in every room.

    Design: Circular
    Design Team: Jordan Parnass, Alex Truica
    Contractor: Ashnu International
    Construction Manager: STV
    Photography: Frank Oudeman