parsons school of design at the new school designs and constructs new pavilion and seating space for east harlem community garden

Pro Bono Design-Build Project Highlights the Leading Art and Design School’s Commitment to Civic Engagement

Parsons Partnered with Union Settlement Association and New York City’s Administration For Children’s Services on the Project at El Sitio Feliz, East Harlem

Ribbon cutting on Thursday, May 25, 11:00 a.m. at 203 East 104th St, New York City

Students in the Design Workshop initiative at Parsons School of Design at The New School designed and built a new pavilion and seating space at El Sitio Feliz, a popular community garden in East Harlem. (Photo / Parsons School of Design)

NEW YORK, May 22, 2017 — Parsons School of Design at The New School partnered with Harlem’s Union SettlementAssociation and New York City’s Administration for Children's Services to design and build a new pavilion and seating space at El Sitio Feliz, a popular community garden in East Harlem.

Led by graduate architecture students and faculty members from Design Workshop, Parsons’ innovative design-build initiative, the new amenities are the latest in a series of pro bono improvement projects highlighting the school’s commitment to design-led civic engagement. DesignWorkshop previously partnered with NYC Parks to identify and implement improvements in public spaces across the city, including Highbridge Recreation Center in Washington Heights and Sunset Park Recreation Center in Brooklyn, and is currently working with the Children’s Museum of the Arts to create a new foyer utilizing healthy building materials.

“Design Workshop’s partnership with Union Settlement Association and Administration Children’s Services illustrates Parsons’ commitment to design-led civic engagement right here in New York City,” said Joel Towers, executive dean of Parsons. “By improving some of our city’s most important public spaces, our students are improving the quality of life for thousands of New Yorkers.”

Spanning the spring and summer of 2016, 15 graduate students from the Parsons Design Workshop, under the leadership of Parsons faculty members Nicholas Brinen and Victoria Marshall, collaboratively designed and constructed the new pavilion and seating space for El Sitio Feliz. This garden is attached to the Union Settlement Association, which has provided community based services and programs to residents of the neighborhood since 1895.

The Parsons Design Workshop is a unique design-build program offered by Parsons School of Constructed Environments. Its mission is twofold: to provide pro bono design and construction services to nonprofits in New York City and to provide graduate architecture and lighting design students the opportunity to design and construct an architectural project for a real client.

The Japan Foundation, founded in 1972, is dedicated to promoting international cultural exchange and mutual understanding between Japan and other countries. Japan Foundation has been a driving force for international collaborations on disaster preparedness, such as “Earth Manual Project.”

Center for Global Partnership (CGP) was established within the Japan Foundation in April 1991. CGP is dedicated to strengthening the global US-Japan partnership and cultivating the next generation of public intellectuals necessary to sustain this partnership. To carry out its mission, CGP supports an array of institutions and individuals, including nonprofit organizations, universities, policymakers, scholars and educators.

Parsons School of Design at The New School is one of the leading institutions for art and design education in the world. Based in New York but active around the world, the school offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the full spectrum of art and design disciplines, as well as online courses, degree and certificate programs. Critical thinking and collaboration are at the heart of a Parsons education. Parsons graduates are leaders in their respective fields, with a shared commitment to creatively and critically addressing the complexities of life in the 21st century.


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Media Contacts:

Scott Gargan,
The New School
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