Lately, I've been touring some of Brooklyn's middle schools as I search for the right institution for my son, who will enter 6th grade next year. This has give me the rewarding opportunity to obverse their warm and handsome architecture. Most of the buildings we've visited were built at a time when schools were considered temples of community as important as churches and civic building, and given accordingly grand designs. No anonymous pile of bricks, these. The ceilings are high, the windows tall and plentiful, and there is an attention to detail everywhere.
These pictures are from M.S. 443 in the South Slope. There was a time when doorknobs of the sort seen above where common in New York government buildings, libraries and schools. I spied this lone survivor.
Most of the classrooms have a row of elevated windows like these near the ceiling. This allows the room to be flooded with light, and provides a connection between each room and the outer corridor. It's also damn good-looking.
The detail found on the railing of this wrought iron back staircase is entirely unnecessary, and thus all the more wonderful. It transforms a potentially ugly corner of the school into something beautiful.
Most classrooms are equipped with roomy closets such as this. Some protrude into the room, others are built into the wall. Some have regular doors, others sliding doors. All are sturdy as hell.
Why should a public school have a pane of stained glass near the entrance. Why not? That's why.