• Designing for Learning

    Our project was about taking learning beyond information and into the realm of discovery and re-enactment.  Learning can be a very private activity and learning can be a very public activity. We made areas where children can take a book and curl up and read it in private, and areas for group learning, sharing and acting, [including a] stage for participatory performances.   

    - Calvin Tsao and Zack McKown

  • Drawings and Renderings
    PS-94 - apple-celeste _1
    ps19-text - color layout
    PS 19 floorplan
    Flip furniture
  • Public School Libraries: Furniture and Lighting

    Public School Libraries: Modular components visibly combine, engaging students’ minds and forming libraries that otherwise would not exist.

    Tsao & McKown faced the challenge of having to meet two contrary programmatic demands: the need for group instruction and activities, versus the need for there to be individual, solitary paths for intellectual discovery.

  • Article
    NY Times: Libraries Invite Young Readers to Check In
    NY Times Article

    Full article here.

  • Article
    Architectural Record: The L!Brary Goes Back to School

    “The architects involved in the library initiative knew they needed to understand the students before they could design for them. Calvin Tsao, AIA, a partner at Tsao and McKown Architects, who has completed five libraries to date, says: ‘We examined what the word ‘library’ means today, technologically and sociologically, and then sought to define the word for this particular group of people. We deconstructed and reevaluated the purpose of the library specifically for the students, to reinsert learning into there in a way that would be relevant to them.’”

    Full article here.

  • Article
    Architecture: Reading Rooms
    PS19_Architecture_July 2002_Page_5
    PS19_Architecture_July 2002_Page_4
    PS19_Architecture_July 2002_Page_3
    PS19_Architecture_July 2002_Page_2
    PS19_Architecture_July 2002_Page_1

    The Robin Hood Foundation and its band of merry architects are building libraries for New York City public school. 

    View the full size PDF.

  • Publication
    The L!brary Book: Design Collaborations in the Public Schools

    The L!brary Book takes readers behind the scenes of fifty groundbreaking library projects to show how widely varied fields and communities—corporate underwriters, children’s book publishers, architects, graphic designers, product manufacturers, library associations, teachers, and students—can join forces to make a difference in the lives of children. Based on the premise that good library design can actually inspire learning, the L!brary Initiative brings together some of the world’s leading architects to reimagine the elementary school libraries in New York City—the nation’s largest public school system.

    Preview and buy the book.

  • Article
    NY Times: A Is for Artwork That Lures Bronx Schoolchildren to New Libraries
  • Article
    Bloomberg News: Robin Hood Foundation Raises Record $88 Million to Help New York City’s Poor

    The Robin Hood Foundation gala, Wall Street’s largest single-evening fundraising event, raised a record of more than $88 million at its New York dinner last night to feed and clothe the city’s destitute. The sum, donated by more than 3,600 attendees including executives at Wall Street banks, hedge funds and private-equity companies, exceeded last year’s record of $72.7 million. 

    Read the full article.

  • Article
    CNN Money: The Story of Robin Hood

    How the leaders of the hedge fund world have banded together to fight poverty – taking gobs of money from the rich, applying strict financial metrics in giving it away, and making philanthropy cool among the business elite. 

    Read the full article.

  • Robin Hood Foundation

    We find, fund and partner with programs that have proven they are an effective remedy to poverty and are a consistent force for good in the lives of New Yorkers in need. We employ a rigorous system of metrics and third-party evaluation to ensure grantee accountability. The board pays all administrative and fundraising costs, so 100% of donations goes directly to helping New Yorkers in need build better lives. We work closely with our grantees to make them more effective, enabling them to assist even more people.

    Learn more about the foundation      Read about The L!brary Initiative

  • NYC Board of Education

    The New York City Department of Education is the largest system of public schools in the United States, serving about 1.1 million students in over 1,700 schools.

    Visit the website.

  • NYC Libraries
  • Consultants

    Pentagram, Michael Bierut & Ryan Byrd

    Graphic Design

    Eastco Buildings Services, Inc.


    F.J. Sciame Construction Co., Inc.

    Construction Manager

    International Woodwork, Inc.


  • T&M Team

    Calvin Tsao

    Zack McKown


    Sam Bargetz

    Julianne Bond

    Kyo Chin

    Philip Gulotta

    Brian Mikulencak

    Aurturo Padilla

    Adam Rolston

    Gerard Sullivan

    Raymond Wobbe

  • Related Projects: Architects

    1100 Architect

    Dean/Wolf Architects

    Deborah Berke & Partners Architects

    Della Valle Bernheimer

    Gluckman Mayner Architects

    Alexander Gorlin Architects

    HMA2 Architects

    Leroy Street Studio

    Marpillero Pollak Architects

    Paul Bennett Architect

    Richard H. Lewis Architect

    Rockwell Group

    Rogers Marvel Architects

    Ronette Riley Architect

    Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects


  • Related Projects: Graphic Designers and Muralist


    Alfalfa Studio

    Automatic Art and Design

    Christoph Niemann

    Dave Johnson

    Dorothy Kresz

    Lynn Pauley

    Maira Kalman

    Pentagram Design

    Peter Arkle

    Raghave KK

    Sagmiester Inc.

    Tucker Viemeister

    Yuko Shimizu