Riverdale Country School

This new building at the Riverdale Country School’s lower school River Campus offers creative, collaborative spaces that take advantage of the natural surroundings along the Hudson River. The building itself is an instrument for curiosity, exploration, and learning.

children walk downhill by the whale-like Upper Learning Building on a sunny day
teacher and students walking past zinc and blue concrete façade
Weathered zinc and concrete panels complement neighboring, historic, brick buildings.
primary school students eating lunch in the cafeteria / student center with blue striped wall graphic and large windows overlooking the campus

The new building houses classrooms, multi-purpose spaces, and offices, anchored between a new flexible theater and a student center that serve the River Campus.

students in theater class
student enters classroom, while others occupy blue sawtooth hallway

Skylit gathering spaces within the hallways encourage students to gather, discuss, and share ideas with one another.

students work together in a breakout space under a hallway skylight
Wide hallways are places for conversation, sharing, and play.

Reinforcing the idea of the building as a learning tool is a series of skylights on the second floor, which use sunlight and graphic elements to illustrate the cardinal directions, time of day, and the colors of the spectrum. From the macro to the micro, these moments provoke curiosity and promote the students’ understanding of the natural world around them.

  • a skylight reflects streaks of bright colors onto the wall below
    Daytime Color Skylight: Colored glass creates dynamic compositions of sunlight, casting combinations of the cyan, magenta, and yellow baffles throughout the day.
  • Prism Skylight: A series of prisms separate daylight into the visible spectrum and cast color onto the walls.
  • teacher walks down sawtooth hallway below a colorful striped skylight and streak of light
    Mirror Sundial Skylight: A color spectrum in the skylight well is calibrated to use a mirror and the sun’s reflection to mark the time of day.
  • students pass each other and graphics on a staircase below a skylight
    Time Lapse Skylight: Sunlight projected onto the wall aligns with graphics to describe both times of day and historic dates.

Classrooms on both levels have immediate access to exterior patios; this connection to the outside, both to the east into the trees and to the west out to the Hudson River, relates directly to the school’s interdisciplinary and diverse curriculum.

students walk from classrooms along a plant-lined path and the curving zinc building façade
Classrooms have access to exterior patios to extend learning outdoors.

The building is certified LEED Silver.

Learn about the temporary Learning Complex here.
Graphic Design: Open


2017 NYCxDesign, Award for Education

Riverdale Country School in Architectural Record
Riverdale Country School in Metropolis