Pembroke Hill School

Photo of Patterson Hall lit up at dusk

Aerial photo of the Pembroke Hill School campus

A series of campus improvements builds unity and provides opportunities for strategic growth.

The 115-year-old Pembroke Hill School is a Kansas City landmark and the city’s largest independent college preparatory school. Pembroke, as it’s colloquially known, is comprised of two campuses: the Wornall Campus and the Ward Parkway Campus. While the former serves the early years through fifth grade, the Ward Parkway Campus is home to their middle and upper school for grades sixth through twelve.

Aerial image of Pembroke Hill School's existing campus prior to the project.
Aerial composite image showing Multistudio's design approach.

Tasked with uniting the Ward Parkway Campus, four critical design drivers emerged from design charrettes with staff and administrators:

  • Increase opportunities for engagement and interaction to strengthen relationships across the Pembroke Hill School community.
  • Design for flexibility and multiple uses to support stewardship of resources through the highest and best utilization of all spaces.
  • Build to last but build sensibly while allowing short-term adaptability.
  • Seek aesthetic unity and completeness among the buildings and grounds.

Early engagement in the process revealed how Pembroke fosters a unified, collegiate atmosphere and celebrates its history. This led to a comprehensive strategy that covered campus planning, architecture, interiors, landscape, and brand experience. The approach focused on a series of improvements to the largest common areas for assembly and celebration: the campus green, dining, and athletic facilities. Critical structures such as the Hall Student Center, Patterson Hall, a skywalk, and Bellis Athletics Center integrate modern features into the otherwise traditional campus while the redesigned site prioritizes accessibility, security, and comfort. This holistic strategy enriches the student experience and positions the school for future growth.

Dusk photo of Hall Student Center, Patterson Hall, a skywalk, and Centennial Hall which enclose the fourth side of the campus quadrangle.
Photo of the interior of Patterson Hall showing the formal dining space with daylight streaming in from the large barrel-vaulted window feature.
A detail photograph of the metal scrim of the large barrel-vaulted window feature.

Patterson Hall & Hall Student Center

The buildings and interstitial spaces were woven together by enclosing the campus’s quadrangle. A skywalk was incorporated, connecting Patterson Hall to the preexisting Centennial Hall.

Patterson Hall sits at the heart of campus and is a formal dining room featuring a 37-foot-tall barrel-vaulted ceiling. At either end of the hall are windows featuring an intricate scrim designed by artist Jan Hendrix. The stainless-steel pattern was inspired by native vegetation. In the early morning, the hall becomes illuminated and awakens the campus. In the evening, it becomes a lighthouse, inviting the community inside to celebrate, congregate, and learn.

Dusk photo of the campus green with Patterson Hall lit up and the light reflecting off its terrace.

Patterson Hall provides flexible spaces for school activities, including student dances, parent meetings, and alumni gatherings. On the northwest side of the hall is a terrace and redesigned quadrangle. The terrace provides a venue for outdoor learning and gatherings like graduation, community events, and cherished traditions.

The Hall Student Center underwent renovations that included raising the ceiling height, expanding the size and capabilities of the lobby, and providing academic spaces for computer science, debate, forensics, and robotics programs.

Photo of Bellis Athletics Center with a varsity soccer game being played on adjacent Hicks Field.

Bellis Athletics Center

The Bellis Athletics Center replaces the demolished Pierson Gym. The athletic center primarily supports upper school varsity and intramural sports and wellness programs. A tiered stadium grandstand is integrated along the field-facing façade, providing a thrilling spectator experience that can be accessed from the second level.

Photo of a volleyball game being played on the courts within Bellis Athletics Center.

A competition and an auxiliary gym can be configured into three regulation-size courts when combined. The competition gym, equipped with retractable bleachers, is adaptable for non-athletic events of up to 1,500 people. This allows the entire student body, faculty, and staff to gather indoors for the first time in the school’s history. Be it for classes, games, competitions, or other events, this versatile space promotes togetherness and school spirit.

Photo of interior entry of the Bellis Athletics Center with graphic signage that says "Sing now in celebration, in praise to Pembroke Hill... your charge we carry forward responsible and free."
Photo of the Bellis Athletics Center weight room.
Photo of the interior stairwell of the Bellis Athletics Center with the original branded athletic floor from Pierson Gym repurposed as a feature wall in the stairwell.

A multipurpose room, weight room, cardio room, training room, and locker rooms help athletes stay at the top of their game and are accessible to all students. Art and graphics communicate the school’s history and pride. For example, the original branded athletic floor from Pierson Gym was salvaged and repurposed as a feature wall in the stairwell.

A Legacy for Generations

Pembroke Hill School’s unity, pride, and excellence shine through in these campus enhancements. Every design choice reflects a meticulous approach to fostering community and honoring the campus’s history. The illuminated campus at dusk signifies a physical transformation and a dedication to its student body, building a legacy for future generations.

Aerial photo of Pembroke Hill School as the sun sets in the distance.
This is an exciting time for Pembroke Hill. The design of the new spaces is extraordinary. Our new facilities will provide a sense of unity and a sense of joy for our community. Together, we are building for the future; we are building for students and their families for generations to come. Brad Shelley Head of School, Pembroke Hill School
Kansas City, MO
60,000 sq.ft.
Pembroke Hill School
General Contractor
McCownGordon Construction
Window Feature Artist
Jan Hendrix
Window Feature Fabrication
Lighting Design
Derek Porter Studio
Justin Miers, Leonid Furmansky, & Shawn Brackbill
Multistudio asterisk