PS 50 Manhattan Exterior

PS 50 Manhattan is a 4-story reinforced concrete building designed by Conklin & Rossant Architects in 1973 and completed in 1975. Multiple envelope deficiencies developed in the aging structure over the course of its 40-year existence, which Nelligan White rectified using a new Ultra-High Performance Concrete rainscreen system and energy efficiency upgrades.

Extensive exterior surveys we conducted in 2015 revealed masonry failures such as cracking, spalling, and missing mortar, as well as minimal reinforcement of the face block to the wall behind it, creating potentially unsafe conditions for students and community residents. Our assessments indicated the need to replace the existing face masonry and waterproof the backup blocks behind it. This condition presented an opportunity for our firm to modernize the school visually and functionally. Rather than replace the façade using a similar ribbed CMU face block system, we used an Ultra-High Performance Concrete (UHPC) ¾” inch thick rain screen panel system. We paired light-colored block shape panels throughout the building elevations with a contrasting, wave-textured panel in a darker graphite around the building base. The UHPC assembly also allowed for the exterior cavity wall to be insulated for the first time, making great strides in energy efficiency and bridging thermal breaks within the building enclosure.

The change in material to the lighter colored Ultra-High Performance Concrete completely modernized the school exterior and reduced its energy consumption tremendously, giving PS 50 Manhattan a new lease of life.

This project was substantially completed in January 2020.

Before and After: Exterior Cladding
PS 50M after modernization
Architectural Staff
Ester Martin Areste
Destiny Connely
Josh Funderburk
Sonny Gonzalez
Jake LaChapelle
Laure Liu
Bruce G. Nelligan
Emily Wetherbee
Project Team

New York City School Construction Authority (NYCSCA)

Structural Engineer
Gilsanz Murray Steficek LLP

Mechanical, Electrical & Plumbing Engineer
Shenoy Engineering, PC

Landscape Design
Grain Collective