The Solebury School, a private coed boarding and day school for grades seven through twelve, occupies a 99-acre farm near the banks of the Delaware River. Hillier helped the Solebury School develop its campus master plan with the goal of preserving the natural landscape through strategic placement of future buildings and parking. After designing the Solebury School Abbe Science Center, the next project was a new Athletic Center and playing fields. The building program included a full-size basketball court, wrestling room, weight training, dance/aerobics room, locker rooms, laundry, public restrooms, offices and food concession/snack bar.
The building was conceived as four volumes, each with its own functional, spatial and material requirements. The two-story basketball court/gymnasium is joined to the one-story ancillary building via an internal corridor. A third volume serves as the primary circulation spine and building lobby. The fourth component that contains the smallest program elements.
Challenges and Solutions
Siting of the gym, playing fields and parking area required careful consideration of the landscape. A careful analysis of topography and soil conditions was undertaken so that natural wetlands and watercourses could be preserved. Set apart from the nuclear campus, the site design foregrounds the building on two sides with playing fields and gently rolling meadow. The gym’s west-facing entrance, located at the intersection of two primary pedestrian paths, faces towards the heart of the campus. Parking for cars and buses is tucked behind the building.