MBB renovated Rodeph Sholom School’s playdecks, including 1,500 sf of play area on a lower rooftop for the elementary school students; and the construction of a new 2,300 sf play area on an upper roof for the middle school students. These outdoor, on-site play spaces are a critical component of active design strategies, by supplementing interior physical education spaces and supporting student wellness.

The lower play deck was resurfaced and a new steel and chain link enclosure was added to allow basketball and foursquare to be played. Decorative green and yellow resin panels were installed around the perimeter creating visual interest and a playful environment in the limited space available. The resin panels also define smaller nooks for students who prefer quieter play.

Construction of the upper play deck involved reinforcing the existing building’s structure to support a new floor deck and ball cage for an outdoor half basketball court with views of the Manhattan skyline. The new play surface is acoustically isolated from classrooms below and is screened from rooftop mechanical equipment by a fiber-cement board rainscreen. A seating area features a custom Ipe-wood bench that incorporates storage space for sports equipment. As with the lower play deck, the space for active play was maximized while smaller areas were considered opportunities to create quieter zones creating variety and choice for students.