Biographical / Historical
The Lawrenceville School boasts a historically significant campus. It features historic sites, notable architecture, and a wide variety of plants and vegetation. The significance of the School's buildings and grounds resulted in it being declared a National Historic Landmark in 1986.
Though the building used by The Lawrenceville School when it opened in 1810 is no longer standing, the first and second buildings constructed for the school are still in use. The first building built on campus, then known as "The House," functioned as both a boarding and school house. It has since been renamed Hamill House and currently functions as a boys dormitory. The second campus building, what is now known as Haskell House, was built in 1832 as a classroom building. Haskell remained classroom space until the building of Memorial Hall in 1885, when it was converted to a gym. It has served many functions throughout the school's history. It currently houses fifth form boys.
Perhaps the most distinctive feature of The Lawrenceville School campus is what is known as The Circle. The design and construction of The Circle coincided with The Lawrenceville School's refounding and conversion to the house system. Modeled after English boarding schools, the houses, under the guidance of housemasters, were to function as small communities that nurture intellectual development and personal growth. The Circle, both buildings and landscaping, was designed by Peabody and Sterns, in collaboration with Frederick Law Olmstead. The Circle as initially conceived consisted of five boarding houses (Cleve, Woodhull, Griswold, Dickinson, and Kennedy) and the headmaster's residence (Foundation House) with all of the houses surrounding a circular green space. The green space was important to Olmstead's plan. He envisioned a park setting with large trees and a wide variety of tree and plant species. The Chapel and Mackenzie Administration Building were added to The Circle not long after the initial building. Each of the five houses is Queen Anne in style and unique in design.
As the student body grew, the campus needed to expand. After receiving a gift from the Father's Association in 1924, the school contracted with the architecture firm of Delano & Aldrich to design an expansion to the campus. The first building constructed was a new classroom and office building known as the Father's Building. This was followed by two houses, Dawes and Raymond. This new expansion became known as The Bowl since it featured and sunken green space flanked by the three new buildings. The Delano & Aldrich design was deliberately hierarchical. The Father's Building was positioned at the top with the students houses below to either side.
The institution of coeducation in 1985 created a need for more housing. The result was The Crescent. Designed by Short and Ford, Architects of Princeton, its shape was intended to complement The Circle house. When The Crescent opened in 1987, it featured four girls houses: Kirby, McClellan, Stanley, and Stephens. A fifth house, Carter House, was added in 2010.
More recently, The Lawrenceville School has undertaken a “Green Campus Initiative” seeking to take a holistic approach to campus sustainability. The initiative focuses on campus energy, materials, land, and water use applying methods that promote ecological literacy, sustainability education and involve the broader community outside of the school. Construction of a solar farm is also underway. It is scheduled to begin powering campus in April of 2012.