A Settlement House Becomes a Cultural Center, featured in eOculus March 5, 2014
The new 103,000-square-foot, six-story Manny Cantor Center, a community and cultural hub located at 197 East Broadway on the Lower East Side, recently opened. Platt Byard Dovell White Architects (PBDW) designed the transformation of the Educational Alliance’s flagship building by reviving the architecture, modernizing the physical plant, and expanding the program area, most of which is now being used for early-childhood classrooms. The existing Romanesque-revival building, designed by Brunner & Tyron in 1890, is now the centerpiece of a larger facility which includes a 1920s six-story addition to the east, and a 1964 Modernist community facility and residence, the Podell Building, to the south.
Improvements include flattening the raked floor of a theater to recover underutilized first-floor space. The sixth floor was extended horizontally and a new circulation core and a rooftop bulkhead were added at the rear of the building. A portion of the roof of the Podell building now contains a newly landscaped play terrace, and a glass-enclosed, column-free multi-purpose room surrounded on two sides by a roof terrace. The street-side façades were restored with the installation of new, historically appropriate windows, a modified primary entrance on East Broadway, and the cleaning, repair, and repointing of the masonry.