Educational Alliance, a non-profit organization, has been serving the community of the Lower East Side of New York for over 120 years. PBDW transformed their historic East Broadway headquarters into the Manny Cantor Center, a new Center serving the needs of a thriving and dynamic but underserved community. The Center’s goal is to nurture the total person, strengthen family connections and build an inclusive community by offering a wide range of programs that integrate education, art and recreation and fitness.
PBDW was hired in 2000 to study, re-imagine and transform the aging flagship facilities into a new visionary and innovative environment. The result is a fully renovated, environmentally friendly, multi-purpose environment that celebrates the diversity of its constituents and organizes the various program elements into a cohesive whole. PBDW’s creative and holistic approach to the conceptual framework for this project reconciles its varying program elements by organizing them around a new circulation core. The program elements include: a commercial kosher kitchen, early childhood classrooms, a teen center and a senior center, seminar rooms for all adult and teen programs, modern art studios and gallery spaces, main administrative offices for core staff, a gymnasium and a rooftop playground. Other outstanding program elements include a 5,000 SF light-filled fitness center with group fitness studios, locker rooms with showers. The jewel of the project, located on the top floor, is a state-of-the-art glass enclosed 3,100 SF multipurpose event space flanked on two sides by a roof terrace with stunning views of the city and park beyond.
The resulting architecture clearly and concisely responds to the needs of Educational Alliance while providing a welcoming place for people of all ages and backgrounds.