Phillips Exeter Academy Library by Louis Kahn, Exeter, New Hampshire

In 1965 Louis I. Kahn was commissioned by the Phillips Exeter Academy to design a library for the school. The Academy had been planning the new library for fifteen years but were consistently disappointed with the designs that the hired architects and committee were proposing.

The beauty in the architecture of the first floor, however, is what gave the Exeter Library its fame. This main floor reaches 70 feet in height and soaks in natural light from a clerestory at the top of this space and from large expanses of glass on the north and west sides. From this 50 foot square space visitors can spot metal bookstacks and readers seven levels above through large holes punctured perfectly into the walls, almost touching at the corners where the walls square off.

For more on this building classic visit:

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The Mansfield Hotel, New York, NY



On West 44th Street, in the midst of New York City’s most prestigious clubs and fabled hotels, PKSB transformed turn-of-the-century residential bachelor apartments into a modern hotel. The building’s innovative revival belies the cost constraints of commercial building and the site restrictions pertaining to a mid-block renovation.



The firm updated antique design elements to give the historic hotel a contemporary feel. Simple gestures and unexpected materials provided the key to the design. Existing details such as mahogany balconies, marble floors, a cast-iron staircase, coffered ceilings, and decorative plasterwork in the lobby were uncovered and restored. Custom-designed furniture and fixtures provided a refined yet romantic appeal. New bookcases transform a lounge alcove into a library and gallery for etchings. In the morning, breakfast is served as a buffet in the lounge adjoining the entry lobby and, in the evening, the same room is converted into a space for piano and harp recitals.


The guest suites feature custom-designed furniture including sleigh beds fabricated from iron and wire mesh. Individually-designed, etched glass panels separate sitting rooms from the bedrooms. Polished, ebonized wood floors add elegance and a sense of spaciousness to the intimate suites.



Good Design in Affordable Housing

The New York City Public Design Commission has released a report urging good design in affordable housing. To read more on this story visit:

 Arbor House, 770 East 166th Street, Bronx, New York, 10456

Arbor House, 770 East 166th Street, Bronx, New York, 10456

 Navy Green, 130 Flushing Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11205

Navy Green, 130 Flushing Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11205

 Creston Avenue Residence, 2388 Creston Avenue, Bronx, NY 10468

Creston Avenue Residence, 2388 Creston Avenue, Bronx, NY 10468

 Frost Street Apartments, 59 Frost Street, Brooklyn, New York, 11211

Frost Street Apartments, 59 Frost Street, Brooklyn, New York, 11211

 The Schermerhorn, 160 Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201

The Schermerhorn, 160 Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Public-Private Partnerships in Architecture and Design

As we enter a new year, we find ourselves looking back on some of the more unique opportunities we have been a part of and the impact they have had on the city. PKSB has a long history of serving both public and private sector clients. More and more, we have seen in our work and in developments throughout New York, that public-private partnerships are becoming increasingly viable paths toward achieving much-needed improvements for the public good. These joint efforts have resulted in the construction public educational facilities, preservation of historic buildings on public land, public housing development, health care, and transportation and infrastructure improvements.

Since 1994, PKSB has been involved with a number of these successful collaborations. We had fun looking back on a few projects and hope you do too!

Primary and Intermediate School 89M

Battery Park City Authority and New York City Board of Education, New York, New York

Van Nest Academy

Civic Builders and New York City School Construction Authority, Bronx, New York

210 Joralemon Street

United American Land and New York City Economic Development Corporation, Brooklyn, New York

Triple Bridges

Community Board 4, Private Lighting Artist, Leni Schwendinger and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Black Box II by Natalie Dionne Architecture, Montreal, Canada

Project Description FROM THE ARCHITECTS:

BLACK BOX II is the latest in a series of tiny additions impacting existing architecture in a big way. Conceived as a jewelry box, large openings blur the interior/exterior boundary, revealing its treasure of fine cabinetmaking work within through the playful use of complementary surface materials.


This semi-detached townhouse, made of red clay brick, is typical of Westmount and the Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough of Montreal. Through the reconfiguration of outdated internal divisions and the grafting of two black volumes in juxtaposition, the pre-existing architecture is enhanced and transformed to better reflect the modern lifestyle and aspirations of its inhabitants. We are always striving to strike the right balance between new and old in order to create a coherent whole, preserving the authenticity of the existing details while affirming the contemporaneity of our interventions.


For more on this beautiful modern home visit:

The Seagram Building - Wine Museum, New York, NY

The Seagram Building, commissioned by Joseph E. Seagram & Sons and completed in 1958, is the only building in New York designed by Mies van der Rohe. A monument to 20th century architecture, it embodies the modern ideal of the tower in the plaza.


As the Seagram Building’s curator and architect-in-residence for over twenty years, PKSB was charged with maintaining the integrity of the building’s interior and exterior architecture. In addition to curating the building, PKSB designed new office floors and a variety of objects, furnishings and signage that reflect and complement the original interiors. On the Seagram Building’s fourth floor, PKSB designed a gallery space for the storage and display of the corporation’s prized wine collection. Used for tastings and small events, the Wine Museum was called “one of New York’s best small rooms” by Paul Goldberger, Architecture Critic for the New York Times.


Bahá’í Temple of South America

Toronto-based Hariri Pontarini Architects’ Bahá’í Temple of South America has won the 2017 Innovation in Architecture Award presented by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC).


Located in the foothills of the Andes Mountains outside Santiago, Chile, the domed building was designed and built using computer modeling, measuring, and fabrication software, as well as custom glass, all of which culminated in nine monumental veils that frame an open worship space for up to 600 visitors. Completed in 2016, the project took 14 years to realize.


For more on this story: visit


Design Proposal Renderings for Congregation Kol Ami, White Plains NY

Like so many congregations in recent years, Kol Ami has begun an effort to adapt their current facility to accommodate 21st century worship practices. PKSB entered a design competition to renovate the existing 280 seat sanctuary. 

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The goal of the design is to maximize and augment the architectural character of the original and to provide a sanctuary that is unique to Kol Ami. Inspired by the Miskan (Tabernacle) as described in Exodus, the proposed ceiling is a tent-like structure that floats freely in the double-height space. Its shape highlights the ark which is housed within its own shrine, a Kodesh Hakodashim (the Holy of Holies). 

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To accommodate a diversity of services and varying numbers of participants, flexible seating and a movable reading table is proposed. A new window design emphasizes the verticality of the space and allows for the incorporation of existing stained glass elements and yahrzeit memorial plaques.

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New Temple Israel of Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA

It took decades of piecemeal construction—a new day school here, a dank brick chapel there—to build the Temple Israel of Hollywood (TIOH). But it would require 10 years of work by Koning Eizenberg Architecture to transform the 90-year-old Spanish Colonial Revival–style temple into a flexible and social campus for worship. So far, the project has yielded a collection of generous, sunlit spaces, including a sculptural multiuse chapel.

For more on this story, please visit


The Charles Kuonen Hängebrücke - world's longest pedestrian suspension bridge suspension bridge extend across a Swiss valley

The Charles Kuonen Hängebrücke, also known as the Europe Bridge, gently swoops across Switzerland's deepest valley, which stretches between the popular ski resorts of Zermatt and Grächen.

It measures 494 metres long, making it the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the world, and hangs 84 metres above the valley floor. The metal deck is just 64 centimetres wide.

To read more on this suspension bridge go to

SelgasCano's Surreal Auditorium in Western Spain, Plasencia, Spain

In José Selgas and Lucia Cano's auditorium and congress center for the ancient city of Plasencia in western Spain, their design took off from the premise of refusing to fill or urbanize the site—a steep hillside—opting instead to preserve its arid, rocky landscape dotted with wild mountain shrubs. Their building occupies the parcel as lightly as possible, with the sloping volume that holds the auditorium seating cantilevered off the ground.

To read more on the feature project go to

Clinch Valley College of the University of Virginia

PKSB’s new, multi-purpose building for Clinch Valley College of the University of Virginia is an innovative solution to a number of site constraints on campus. The firm’s approach to the issues of circulation and handicapped access garnered a PA Award in 1995 for a structure that plays a key role in the transformation of a divided campus into a single, cohesive composition. Visually, as well as in plan, the building seeks to be part of its environment and the use of simple materials connects it both to the landscape and the campus.

The design was based on the University’s upper campus master plan and the need for a structure that would transform a divided campus into a single entity. An outdoor circulation zone was placed along the eastern façade of the building along the ridge of a steep hill to create a link between the main campus entry and the lower campuses. The western façade operates at a more formal scale, relating to the more distant buildings and the mountain landscape. Where the building forms a courtyard with its neighbors, the façades and entries are more intimate in scale and detail.

The building’s internal areas promote interaction among the many departments that share it, with a central portion containing computer labs, traditional and electronic classrooms, art studios, and a media center with a television production room. Each department is stacked vertically around a vertical circulation node with transparent elements that allow views from one department to another. A glass enclosure that rises through the building culminates in a double-height student lounge that benefits from views of the upper and lower campuses and the mountains beyond.