The parents of a Manhattan public school, P.S. 166, asked us to transform a neglected schoolyard into a tranquil space for children to read, reflect, and encounter nature, and for their teachers to use as an outdoor classroom. The design of the garden comprises organically shaped planters that double as benches, built out of weather-resistant, sustainable cedar, and the plants were carefully selected to suit the varying degree of light in the garden. The design also included a matching cedar recital stage and the Power Flower, a solar powered kinetic sculpture that responds to movement. The development of the Reading Garden provided the impetus for the school to receive literacy – focused grants funding story telling, volunteer reading, and tutoring. In addition, horticultural workshops have been incorporated into the children’s curriculum and the garden quickly became a vital part of campus life.
Location: New York City