Preschool receives new home in a historic landmark
For this San Francisco preschool established in 1948, JENSEN converted the former Grabhorn Press Building, a National Register landmark, into a modern learning space, complete with classrooms; specialty rooms for art, science, and music; and observation booths. The design neatly fits the preschool’s programmatic needs into the compact building, cleverly organizing spaces for pre-academic curriculum and creative play while meeting requirements for historic resources, exiting, and accessibility. A new rooftop garden extends the preschool’s footprint and provides needed outdoor play space in the otherwise dense urban neighborhood.
While the building earned its landmark status as the home of the Grabhorn brothers’ distinguished art press from 1942 to 1965, it originally served as the temple school of Congregation Emanu-El. Converting the small, narrow building back to a school that meets modern codes was an extremely complex undertaking. The building was stripped back to its brick walls to add structural reinforcements, leaving a hollow space within which the new school was constructed. A slender side-yard light well and skylights provide light-filled spaces despite the building’s taller abutting neighbors.