Design Challenge

In 2015, Maclay Architects was hired to perform a feasibility study to assess the relative benefits of renovating North Country School and Camp Treetops’ campus “Main Building” versus removing that building and replacing it with new construction. The study identified key programmatic functions the school desired to add. Following that study and building on past work, Maclay Architects was hired to design a new net zero Performing Arts Center for the school and camp.


The new performing arts center houses spaces for music education, practice rooms, a full-scale scene shop, and theater space for the North Country School/Camp Treetops’ engaging and creative performances. The design team carefully considered functional theater requirements and acoustic performance alongside net zero energy metrics. Windows provide ample natural daylighting and views to the surrounding mountains. Healthy, natural, durable, and long-life materials include an exposed wood frame and stone and wood siding.

In addition to housing key programmatic elements, this new performing arts center creates a new heart space on the campus. This living room of sorts brings students and campers together by creating a warm and welcome sense of home. Whimsical design elements include a slide, playful nooks, and peak-through windows to inspire the spirit of the children every day, in a unique North Country/Camp Treetops way.

section view rendering north country school plan view rendering north country school


The project was completed in the fall of 2019. North Country School/Camp Treetops has registered the project for Net Zero Energy Certification with the International Living Futures Institute in anticipation of net zero performance.

Project Details


Lake Placid, NY




10,000 sf


Zero Energy Certified through ILFI (anticipated)
Net Zero Energy Anticipated

Energy Intensity:

22 kBTU/sf-yr (modeled)
0kBTU/sf-yr (modeled w/ renewables)

Air Infiltration:

0.0273 cfm50/sf (actual)