Commodore John Barry Elementary School (USA)
Designer: Ross Barney Architects
Location: Philadelphia, USA
Completion date: 2008
Photos©: Matt Wargo Site
area: 3,995 square metres
|1. East elevation of school 2. Main entrance canopy|
The new pre K-8 in West Philadelphia for 646 students was built on site of the original school in a residential neighbourhood of 2-storey brick row houses circa early 1900s. The new school was designed in 8 months and constructed in 16 months. Community involvement throughout the process allowed completion on an abbreviated schedule. The four-storey solution, unusual for elementary education, provided over 40% of the approx. 3,995 square metres site as outdoor play space.
|Main entry view|
Conceptually, the design comprises three horizontal zones. The base zone: the lobby, cafetorium and administrative offices, creates a public commons for the students and the community.
Pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and special needs classrooms are also on grade. The middle zone contains two identical floors with 1-8 grade classrooms around a two-storey Gymnasium creating “small schools within a school” or grade related instructional clusters. A roof level “learning garden” has special spaces for all the students. Art, music, science, computer, vocational classrooms, and the library include outdoor decks for hands-on learning experiences.
|Classroom with views out to neighbourhood|
Glazed brick is used at grade for durability. The metal wall panel system creates a high performance building enclosure while minimising construction time. Wire mesh enclosures give the roof gardens an open and inviting feel.
Circulation hallway looking out to neighbourhood
|Main circulation stair with skylight|
The school was designed for a LEED Silver rating, but actually received a LEED Gold.
Sustainable features include porous paving, grey water capture and reuse, outdoor views for 95% and day light harvest for 90% of occupied spaces. The design challenge for this project was to provide a first rate academic facility on a tight urban site. To maximise outdoor play area and neighbourhood green space, a four-storey school was designed.
The new school has 46 classrooms. Additional instructional spaces for art, science, vocal music, and technical education were included. The building contains a cafetorium with a stage area and warming kitchen, a gymnasium with locker and shower areas and an Instructional media centre, with a computer classroom, conference rooms and a library.
1. Vestibule 2. Lobby 3. Cafeteria 4. Kitchen 5. Offices 6. Multi-function room 7. Storage 8. Classroom