In the summer of 2022, St. Louis experienced severe flash flooding north of Forest Park. Directly in the path of this event, was the New City School, which suffered its worst flood related damages in the 120-year history of the building. The damage was extensive and included the entire lower-level kindergarten suite consisting of four classrooms and common spaces. Devastating as this was, the flood provided a unique opportunity for the school to respond by re-imagining the kindergarten, to both enhance learning and simultaneously help safeguard against future flood damage.
Flood protection measures included site improvements to redirect storm water away from the building as well as façade upgrades to work as a second line of defense. Inside the building, new classrooms feature an environment that is less overtly themed as compared to the previous spaces with a new design concept making use of abstracted nature imagery. The design intends to create a playful mood that is also receptive to the imaginations of the children who will use these classrooms. The new kindergarten suite features a multi-sensory environment, full of useful variety, and creates a strong sense of community.