The years following World War II ushered in two decades of experimentation during which architects were eager to apply the design principles of European Modernism to New York City school buildings. Emulating Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius, school designers redefined the materials and configuration of public schools, using glass block, introducing sweeping curves, and maximizing an open plan that broke out of rectilinear boxes. In addition, the spread of urban residents into less densely populated areas provided opportunities for low-rise, sprawling schools in new neighborhoods.
Eric Kebbon served as superintendent of school buildings from 1938-1952, followed by Michael Radoslovich, who lead a reorganized in-house architectural team from 1952-1969. Radoslovich also worked closely with outside consultants, hired by the Board of Education to reinvent the public school. They included Kelly & Gruzen; Chapman, Evans & Delehanty; Katz, Waisman, Blumenkranz, Stein, Weber; and Harrison & Abramowitz, to be joined in the 1960s by Edward Durell Stone, Percival Goodman, Paul R. Williams, Giorgio Cavaglieri, Welton Becket, and Max Urbahn.