SAR Academy and High School, a private Modern Orthodox Jewish facility in the Bronx, was the first NYC school to close due to COVID-19. The school administration quickly acknowledged the need to reevaluate its building facilities and operations, along with class schedules and sizes amongst other factors to develop a flexible plan to reopen the school safely this fall. Architects Esther Sperber and Hila Stern were called upon to lead the Academy in its efforts towards reinvention. “We had to revise both facilities and usage plans, but we also had to include some student/teacher behavior change in our design methodology,” […] Read More

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“Leadership and decisiveness are exactly what SAR implemented in its reopening strategies. Administrators there are relying on a few of the city’s proposals — and they’re adding a few modifications of their own. That’s because administrators know SAR will not look the same as it did before the pandemic. And they brought on two architects to make renovations that would make the schools safer. According to Hila Stern, one of the architects in charge of the SAR renovations, there were several factors to consider. While the goal was to make the schools safer, Stern didn’t want to make any permanent […] Read More

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Now, after three months of working with architects Esther Sperber and Hila Stern, the academy has been redesigned as an environment that allows for a safe return to the classroom while maximizing the learning experience and student engagement. Sperber and Stern created a design solution built on the idea of “radical flexibility,” a concept that allows the school to continuously adapt its physical space to conform to best practices, health guidelines and new technology in real time. To achieve their goal, the team had to rethink everything about the school’s curriculum and operations as well as the maintenance of the […] Read More

“ The architects Hila Stern, of HSB Architecture, and Esther Sperber and Kellen Thayer, of Studio ST Architecture, helped designthe changes, a process that began earlier in the summer. We realized that if we waited for all the state and city guidelines to come out, there wouldn’t be enough time to do the potentialwork we’d have to do,” Sperber, an SAR parent, said. Some of the changes could well be permanent, Krauss said — like installing outdoor classrooms for as long as the weather is nice.But it’s a learning experiment, one that he thinks could actually help students focus better.“The […] Read More

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“For this reason, I am making a pledge, and I hope others will join. If I receive funding from the CARES Act PPP that allows me to keep my staff on payroll for the next two months, my firm will dedicate a significant portion of the additional work time toward architectural work that does good for the world.” Read More

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“While I understand the wish to respect the scale of the neighborhood and the resentment towards developers’ insatiable appetite, I fear the implications for the architectural and building professions of revoking the permit for a project under construction. I am even more horrified by the idea of dismantling an already constructed structure. ” Read More

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“The following list features the top 15 residential architects in NYC. Our team compiled a list of accomplished architects and evaluated them based on their mastery of the trade and the quality of their work. We also assessed the architects based on their years of experience, their industry accreditations and certifications, and the strength of their portfolios. The resulting list features architects whose forward-thinking practices have put them at the forefront of residential architecture.” Read More

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We are excited for our Synacondo project to be selected as an”Editors’ Pick” for best Unbuilt Cultural Building. It is an honor to be listed alongside such great architectural firms. Read More

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“The Ansche Chesed Synagogue on the Upper West Side of Manhattan will soon undergo major structural renovations to offer an enhanced experience for visitors with functional disabilities and compromised mobility. Designed by Studio ST Architects, the renovation will also expand and modernize the building’s aging facilities.” Read More

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“I have no doubt that conversations about synagogue security have increased in the last few years. I do not remember discussing security when we were working on the Kesher Synagogue, ten years ago. The building was designed as a knot, which is the meaning of the institution’s name in Hebrew. The building design is a loop with multiple entrances and exits connecting different indoor and outdoor spaces. I imagine that if we proposed this concept now, many people would feel really uncomfortable.” Read full interview Read More

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Developers recently celebrated the commencement of construction at 36 Jones Street in central Jersey City. Located just south of the Journal Square’s major transportation plaza, the five-story building will eventually contain ten apartments, amenity space, and approximately 900 square feet of ground floor retail. Read More

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“The dream of every New Yorker came true for these clients when they were able to buy the one bedroom apartment next to their existing two bedroom. This clean and contemporary combination created a large, four bedroom home on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The large open space includes a generous foyer, living room, dinning room and kitchen, perfect for entertaining and relaxing.” Read More

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“Studio ST Architects turned this 6700 SF Manhattan apartment into a sophisticated and flexible space – allowing the owners to host large groups – yet comfortable and welcoming for their children. “The generous foyer, kitchen, dining room, living room and family room —which are all located on one side of the apartment—are designed for hosting functions and fundraisers, says founder Esther Sperber.”     Read More

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“This 2,000 square foot, full floor gut renovation turned a pre-war apartment into a clean modern residence for a family of three, while preserving its prewar features, such large generous rooms, tall baseboards and ceiling beams. The entry foyer becomes a central node that both separates and connects the dining room, living room, and bedroom areas through a series of large walnut open door frames, creating an airy, free-flowing layout. A small bookcase slot provides a visual connection between the dining and living rooms.” Read More

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“Studio ST Architects has recently completed a renovation that transformed a small and dark studio apartment into a cozy and stylish one bedroom apartment. Imagined as a gallery for the client’s collection of Asian art, the minimalist, contemporary Manhattan apartment features stark white walls, bleached wood floors from LV floors, white millwork and recessed gallery style track lights.” Read More

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“It’s very important for many of these institutions to still be open and allow passerby to come in,” said Esther Sperber, founder of Studio ST Architects. Her firm designed Kesher Synagogue in suburban New Jersey, as well as renovations for a Manhattan Jewish community center, the 14th Street Y. While working on the 14th Street Y, she said, ‘they had a very similar debate between openness and the need for security.'” Read More

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“Many of these buildings are quite hierarchical — an elevated front podium, an imposing ark and very high ceilings, and people sit in rows,” Sperber said. “Many synagogues that I know are moving toward an understanding of prayer as a much more egalitarian, communal, shared experience. With some of these buildings, it is a struggle to mitigate between the architecture of the structure and the structure of community as it’s evolving. That’s where the design challenge is.” Read More

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The English language has two distinct words that refer to the place of dwelling: “home” and “house”. The term “house” identifies a physical structure that enables domestic activities, but a home is also a mental state characterized by a sense of belonging, protection, love and shelter. A home is a place located between the physical reality and a conceptual idea, between past memories and future aspirations. Home straddles the threshold separating private intimacy and the public world of buildings and culture.” Read More

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“Levitt has a rare ability to integrate insights from the fields of architecture and psychology, revealing the internal processes that enable creative design. Using beautifully narrated vignettes drawn from his teaching and design practice, Listening to Design describes techniques for overcoming creative impasses and finding your own inner passion. It also provides valuable insights for art, design, and architecture educators as well as therapists working with creative clients.”