Commodore John Barry Elementary School

Philadelphia, PA
Foto © Matt Wargo
Foto © Matt Wargo
Foto © Matt Wargo
Dibujo © Ross Barney Architects
Dibujo © Ross Barney Architects
Foto © Matt Wargo
Foto © Matt Wargo
Foto © Matt Wargo
Foto © Matt Wargo
Ross Barney Architects
Philadelphia, PA

School District of Philadelphia

100,000 square feet

Associate Architect
The Sheward Partnership

Matt Wargo


The new Commodore John Barry Elementary School accommodates 646 students from pre-kindergarten through 8th Grade on Philadelphia’s west side. The site is bounded on all four sides by 2 story brick row houses, dating to the early 1900’s.


The design challenge for this project was to provide a first rate academic facility on a gritty, tight urban site. To maximize outdoor play area and neighborhood green space, a four-story school was designed with minimal at grade play areas and roof gardens adjacent to 4th floor classrooms.

The schedule was a challenge for the project.  Design and Construction Documents were completed in 8 months and construction complete in 16 months.  The original schedule called design and construction to be completed in 3 years.  

The new school contains 46 classrooms. Additional instructional spaces include Art, Science, Vocal Music, and Technical Education.  The building contains a Cafetorium with a stage area and Warming Kitchen, a Gymnasium with locker and shower areas and an Instructional Media Center, containing a computer classroom, conference rooms and a library.  

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