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This project is part of a transformative series of APT Architecture school libraries that are expanding their educational purposes by rebuilding communities through culture. 

Queens, NY | 4,500 SF | Completed 2022 | Sustainable Design Features | Educational


school library design



Queens, NY | 4,500 SF | Completed 2022 | Sustainable Design Features | Educational

Photographs by APT

The Pan American International High School serves a community of recent immigrants from Latin American countries and is located in the Elmhurst neighborhood of Queens, New York.


The Pan Am Library is located inside of a former industrial building that was converted into an educational campus in 2008. The large underground room was radically transformed into a hospitable library for teenagers.  Pre-existing columns with bright mosaic tile finishes were restored to their original condition and are now a main characteristic of the space.  We custom-designed the oval-shaped tables and counters that were placed around these multicolored columns to create study stations with different seating arrangements.


Our main intervention was to design a series of light windows with deep sills along two sides of the room to generate an informal seating area for the teens. We used a modular table design to produce a flexible classroom at one end of the room and throughout, incorporated various lounge seating areas.  We also designed a new separate computer lab and classroom near the library’s main entrance.


Local craftsmen built the light windows, oval-shaped tables, shelving, and paneling. The lighting is envisioned as a series of round stars in the new gypsum ceiling.


The library’s materials and technologies, the ergonomic furniture, and the ceiling with LED lighting respond to the latest environmental and health requirements developed with the client.

This project is part of Atelier Pagnamenta Torriani’s architectural acupuncture interventions in NYC: a transformative series of public school libraries that are expanding their educational purpose by rebuilding communities through culture.

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