common areas and administration

The Packer Collegiate Institute

Brooklyn Heights, NY


Spanning over 150 years of history, Packer Collegiate Institute is a K – 12 independent school on a historic half-acre Victorian Gothic campus in the unique urban environment of New York’s Brooklyn Heights. HSA has been working with Packer Collegiate since 2009, starting with a Master Plan for the Science Wing and the Upper and Lower School classrooms, all to be accomplished in a series of summers. HSA has worked closely with teachers and administrators to best meet the needs of Packer’s exciting teaching methodology while practicing sustainable design.

Built in 1854 by Minard Lafever, Packer Collegiate Institute is a stunningly picturesque Gothic Revival style brick and brownstone structure. Unfortunately the striking design was obscured by layers of dreary alterations that was made more uninviting by the labyrinthine hallways. HSA's goals for the school included design that responded to the unique context/sense of place at Packer’s Victorian Gothic campus, while also brightening and redefining the space. 

HSA restored the historic fabric of the building interior and updated the lighting, carpeting and archways to create an expansive space with signage and wayfinding to make it easier to navigate the building. Upon entering, one can perceive the tradition that is cherished while also seeing the school as a vital place of learning in the 21st century.

Equal attention was paid to designing new spaces for faculty members. These beautiful and well-lit workspaces provide a pleasant work environment with the latest technology and plentiful storage options. The open design made preparation rooms easily accessible as well as creating an open and inviting space for students to interact with their teachers.