"City Kids" by BAAO Architects with windows of varying shapes and sizes

City Kids is a new childhood education center located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Six preschool classrooms open onto a central double-height courtyard gathering space, lit by a large storefront window.


City Kids Architect: BAAO Photo credit: Francis Dzikowski/OTTO

The courtyard features a thickened wall that incorporates the reception desk and storage cubbies and provides a central gathering space for the classrooms. Windows of varying shapes and sizes in the interior façade allow borrowed light to enter the surrounding spaces on both levels, and provide visual access for children and teachers.


Photo credit: Francis Dzikowski/OTTO


Photo credit: Francis Dzikowski/OTTO


Photo credit: Francis Dzikowski/OTTO

The classrooms are interconnected through double doors and shared spaces such as bathrooms and play sinks, with half-height walls that allow for visual privacy for the kids, and monitoring capability for the teachers.


Photo credit: Francis Dzikowski/OTTO

The after-school program for elementary school students is accessed up the stairs at the reception area. Apertures bring light and views to the courtyard and the street. Lockers wrap the courtyard volume, in the form of a city skyline. Specialized classrooms for cooking, theater, STEM, and movement are accessed off of the upper hallway.


Photo credit: Francis Dzikowski/OTTO


Photo credit: Francis Dzikowski/OTTO

A lounge with bleacher seats provides a place for informal gathering. Light fixtures of different types and sizes are suspended to provide an animated ceiling plane. Plank flooring is also used to wrap the entries to the classrooms and windows. Acoustical felt panels, cut into graphic shapes, provide visual interest. The pandemic prompted some ventilation improvements in the form of electronic and ultraviolet light HVAC filters, touchless security and check-in points, as well as the addition of operable windows to bring light and air to all classrooms.


Photo credit: Francis Dzikowski/OTTO


Photo credit: Francis Dzikowski/OTTO

About BAAO Architects

BAAO Architects is an award-winning multidisciplinary practice based in New York.  They have worked in the public and private sector on a range of projects that include ground-up private residences, interiors, and institutional and retail projects in the New York area, regionally, and internationally. The firm has engaged with a range of private and corporate clients, including The Hudson Companies and Trinity Real Estate, as well as developers for residential units in Inner Mongolia, China. Recent professional awards include AIA New York and AIA Brooklyn Queens Design Award Certificates of Merit for the Maple Street School. Chromatic Energy Landscape, a speculative project, was a finalist in the Land Art Generator Initiative and received an honorable mention in the Architizer A+ Awards.