PEEKSKILL MIDDLE SCHOOL, COMMUNITY CENTER & CITY GREEN
Peekskill Middle School,
Community Center and City Green
Peekskill is a 19th-century Hudson River city at the northwest corner of Westchester County. The city plan is based on an orthogonal grid where north-south streets run parallel to the river and the natural slope of the land. East-west streets run perpendicular to the river and slope steeply.
The new Middle School was located on the site of an existing 1920s high school, which was converted to a middle school in the 1960s. This conventional building of the 1920s barely acknowledged its spectacular Hudson River Valley site. The site was bordered on the east by Ringgold Street, a residential street on the uphill side, and on the west by Washington Street, a commercial street on the downhill side. There was an 80-foot change of grade between the upper and lower streets.
The old Middle School was situated close to Ringgold Street with a playing field behind it to the west. Our plan placed the new building on the existing playing field, demolished the old building, and created a new playing field (a city green) on the east side of the new building. The new building accommodates four stories of topographic change from its lower level on Washington Street to its upper level bordering the playing field and Ringgold Street. This placement provides for spectacular views of the Hudson River from classrooms, lobbies, and the cafeteria, which face west. On the east side, a two-story façade faces back toward Ringgold Street and defines the western edge of a new city green. This green, which is the playing field for the school, responds directly to the city plan grid and to the fabric of the residential neighborhood.