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Hackley School
Tarrytown, NY

Hackley School, an independent, coed boarding and day school, is located on a 280-acre wooded site.  Originally, the school’s Tudor-style buildings defined an informal, main quadrangle--the ceremonial center of the school. From 1960 to 1975, Hackley constructed separate object buildings on open land to the west of the original quadrangle.  These newer buildings were intertwined with asphalt roads and parking areas, making pedestrian navigation difficult and hazardous.   Later, the School acquired 115 acres of property to the north, elevated above the main campus. This newly-acquired land featured a wide conservation easement, significant rock outcrops, areas of steep slopes, dense woodlands, and pockets of wetlands.

Project Information


In 1998, we prepared a master plan to evaluate options for long-term development and return the campus to its original roots.  The plan created a core academic campus of four connected outdoor spaces based on the idea of the original quadrangle. A second quadrangle — a meadow — connects to a third quadrangle, a small cloister courtyard.  The fourth quadrangle, a south-facing courtyard is formed by the wings of a new lower school that sits on a hill defining the edge of the meadow quad.  The four quadrangles form a pedestrian zone uninterrupted by roads and parking, which have been moved to the perimeter of the pedestrian precinct.  

To create the quadrangles, three of the object buildings were demolished.  New buildings—the middle school, science building, and lower school—were designed with single-loaded corridors facing south toward the outdoor open spaces, encouraging participation in the Hackley's communal life.  The buildings and outdoor spaces define the academic heart of the campus.

A second master plan prepared ten years later addressed development of the campus to the north.  This area would become the new athletics and recreation precinct with a new Athletic Center, new athletic fields, and an elevated walkway through the wetland nature preserve.

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