Pratt Institute Stabile Hall

Pratt Institute Stabile Hall in Brooklyn, New York by Pasanella+Klein, Stolzman+Berg Architects (PKSB), 1999

Open since late 1999, Pratt Institute's Stabile Hall in Brooklyn, New York, designed by Pasanella+Klein, Stolzman+Berg Architects of New York City, is an atypical university dormitory. Accommodating approximately 220 freshman art and architecture students, the hall contains studio and gallery spaces, in addition to the typical dorm rooms and common areas.

Utilizing brick and translucent panels to differentiate functions and volumes, the building's scale is thereby reduced and is less severe than a monolithic shell might have been. The irregular openings and regular rhythm of the brick volumes (at left) is reminiscent of Louis I. Kahn's work, while the light volume sheathed in translucent panels conveys an appreciation of contemporary European architecture.

The multi-level lobby uses generous glazing and an unobtrusive pedestrian bridge to allow sunlight to fill the space. This space, along with the single-loaded corridors of the dorm floors, give the circulation a more prominent role than is typically afforded with this building type.

Unlike Morphosis's Graduate House in Toronto, Canada, Stabile Hall does not need to relate to an urban context. Instead it is required to fit the surrounding campus of Pratt's Brooklyn campus, which it does admirably both in materials and massing. The red brick relates to existing buildings dating back over 100 years, while the smaller, yet mainly opaque, brick volumes help to reduce the scale of the dorm. Finally, it is the panels of the majority of the exterior surface that enable the building to look ahead while appreciating the past.