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Lecture: Public School Design

“A Revolution in Public-School Design: The Legacy of Charles B. J. Snyder,” A Slide Lecture by Jean Arrington

Visionary and innovator, the Progressive-Era architect, Charles B. J. Snyder, made more changes to New York City’s schools during his 31-year career (1891-1922) as the Superintendent of School Buildings for the NYC Board of Education than have occurred in the subsequent 90 years. Responsible for the planning, design, and construction of all public schools in the five boroughs, Snyder designed and built 408 new school buildings and additions, including the city’s first high schools. All but one high school and more than half of his buildings in general still retain their original function.

C.B.J. Snyder is most well known for his innovative “H-plan.” In LANDMARK WEST!’s February 1994 newsletter, Dr. Amy S. Weisser, Adjunct Assistant Professor at NYU, wrote that his architecture “aided [turn-of-the-century] social reformers in boosting the status of the public education system by replacing cramped, dark, unsanitary, fire-prone school houses with safe and secure buildings.”

Jean Arrington, Charles B.J. Snyder scholar, will provide an overview of Snyder’s life and architecture, focusing on his Upper West Side buildings.

Tickets must be purchased in advance. To avoid the credit card processing fee, please call (212) 496-8110 or email

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