Commodore John Barry Elementary School

Philadelphia, PA
Photo © Matt Wargo
Photo © Matt Wargo
Photo © Matt Wargo
Drawing © Ross Barney Architects
Drawing © Ross Barney Architects
Photo © Matt Wargo
Photo © Matt Wargo
Photo © Matt Wargo
Photo © Matt Wargo
Ross Barney Architects
Philadelphia, PA
1M - 100M
1-5 Stories

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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