Mundelein Hall


Riverdale Country School hired our firm to develop plans for the complete restoration and retrofit of Mundelein Hall, a 170-year old carriage house that was part of a new property annexation on the Upper School’s Hill Campus. We were fully responsible for the conversion of this building to accommodate the school’s administrative offices and an early childhood learning facility.

We found the structure in poor condition, engulfed in ivy, with rotting wood and leaking roofs. The building is set into the hilly topography, with two independent floor levels. The lower level serves the school’s business offices and the upper level houses a day care for the children of school employees. To accommodate new uses that include a childcare facility and school business offices, we reinforced the structure to provide for increased floor loads, while improving fire protection and integrating state of the art building systems. 

The interior shows a consistency of materials and detailing that bring forward the building’s historic character. There are stained cherry panel doors with glass transoms, wood moldings throughout, and historic replica milk-globe pendant light fixtures. All ceilings are solid sheetrock with access panels, avoiding the commercial look of a hung ceiling grid. Features include porcelain tile, CAT-5 cabling, and door hinges that keep small fingers out of harm’s way. The building is designed for long-term service, durability and safety. 

On the exterior, the project included new bitumen roofing, new slate roofing, masonry repair, custom-fabricated wood windows and millwork. At the upper level facing the street, a new steel and wood portico was designed to enhance the public presence of the building in proximity to the school’s main gate. This project included full review and approval by Landmarks.

For over 12 years, Ivan Brice Architecture worked with the Riverdale Country School on campus-wide renovation and restoration projects. Riverdale Country School first hired our firm to conduct a thorough survey and assessment of existing conditions and uses of its 18 historic buildings. This was known as “The Brice Plan”. Secondly, we were hired to produce the school’s first ADA study, which provided guidelines and recommendations for both the lower and upper school campuses.

For The Main Building our assignment was to remedy the poor condition of the unstable granite stone walls at one of the oldest classroom building on campus, without interrupting normal use and operation. After careful probes and evaluation, our specifications and plans established a comprehensive procedure involving interior shoring, followed by selective stone replacement to re-establish the structural integrity of the walls. Newly quarried local Westchester granite was installed with stainless steel anchors, using an anti-oxidizing agent and marble sand mortar to preserve the stonework against future weathering.

The Perkins Building, a classroom and library building built in the 1970s, was designed with roof forms resembling a Japanese temple. It had severely deteriorated tongue and groove roof decks and laminated beams that required replacement. The large overhangs, supported by glue-laminated beams, had suffered extensive rot and termite damage. Our firm designed a method to replace the rotted sections of the beams using marine grade shipbuilding adhesives with welded steel plates and bolts that served to couple the new beams to the original structure. The entire structure was fully restored and re-roofed, integrating a new metal “crest” to protect the vertical portion of the roof.