Tuesday, May 31, 2016


Snyder served as superintendent of school buildings from 1891 to 1922.  During his tenure his office designed close to 350 schools, plus numerous additions and other school improvements.  Testifying to the quality and longevity of his designs is that as of 2009, thirteen of his buildings and five of his additions have been designated New York City landmarks.

Inventive and pragmatic, Snyder left his mark as an engineer, administrator, and designer.  In each of these areas his innovations contributed to a successful school building campaign unparalleled in any other American city.  His most widely celebrated advancement was the development of the mid block H-plan, his response to urban density.  This configuration allowed him to plan schools for less expensive mid block sites away from busy avenues yet allow ample light, reduce street noise, maximize space, and provide a protected outdoor play area.

Snyder is best known for his application of the Collegiate Gothic style to New York City public schools.  In Snyder’s buildings, distinguishing Collegiate Gothic features include Tudor-arched doorways, pointed-arch windows topped with stone tracery, a central square tower, gabled bays, label moldings, and heraldic statues.  He also experimented with other styles.

This is one of my schools in the Bronx.

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