Architect Guillermo Gomez plans a new Portfolio School that inspires innovation.
Following the design of The Montessori Schools of Soho and Flatiron, Guillermo was approached by Portfolio School, a K-6 school in Tribeca, to design its new location at 90 Hudson Street and create a learning space unlike any other.
How did you get into architecture?
Growing up in Argentina, my earliest memories included gathering wooden blocks and lying on the cold slate floor of my home porch at siesta time, designing buildings for hours. When our neighbors began building their home next door, I visited the site so many times– to see how the timber lined the walls, how the electric wires ran up and down—that the construction workers began calling me the official “Building Inspector.”
Portfolio School is New York City’s first Next Generation Project-Based school. What were your thoughts when they approached you about designing their new Tribeca space?
I had chills running up and down my arms. Education has been the same for over a hundred years to a degree—designed with little rows of desks compartmentalized into small classrooms to fulfill somewhat homogenous curriculum. As a NextGen Project-Based school, Portfolio was more like my childhood—building things from scratch that really mattered. But that’s also the challenge– with mixed-age groups, where the curriculum is infused into projects that span numerous disciplines—how do you design with such unknowns? We have to create a space for continual innovation where the students can evolve.
To a certain degree, you are designing the future of what education will soon look like. What metrics are you using to measure the success of this project?
When I think of who I am today, it’s because I was given the opportunity to create as a child in Argentina. That was real and meaningful. So for me, the ultimate measure of success will be the freedom it allows the children to have to create a future none of us have been able to imagine. That’s the thing about innovation—you don’t know what it’s going to look like, but I have a feeling the students at Portfolio will show us the way.
Portfolio School is accepting applications for Fall 2019 for grades K-6. The new 90 Hudson Street location will open this September. More at www.portfolioschool.org
This post is brought to you by our sponsor, Portfolio School.