Project File: Architectural intervention

July 1, 2004
Packer Collegiate Institute, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Packer Collegiate Institute, Brooklyn, N.Y., was founded in 1845 and occupies three buildings: an 1853 Gothic Revival building, Old St. Ann's Church and the adjacent Parish House. In the 1990s, the institute experienced significant growth, which led the school to develop a master plan that would maximize the use of its existing facilities. The plan consolidated the Lower and Upper School spaces in the main school building, and the Middle School was relocated to the church.

With its tripartite facade, twin towers and spires, and polychromatic stonework, Old St. Ann's Church is an example of high Victorian Gothic-revival ecclesiastical architecture. Its central space has cast-iron columns and timber framing that support two side aisles.

Because the architect wanted to preserve the integrity and proportions of the sanctuary's high side aisles, it designed a freestanding, four-story structure of glass and steel to be built inside the church's central aisle, allowing students and faculty to experience elements of the original architecture. Its clerestory windows and ghost mirrors animate and reflect the life of the school, maximizing daylight and providing unexpected views through to the church walls beyond. The school has 18 classrooms and three common rooms, one in each side aisle and one close to the church rafters.

The architect for this project is Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates, LLP (New York City).

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