National Model for University Affiliated Public Schools
One of the most important steps taken by the University of Pennsylvania and the City of Philadelphia to revitalize West Philadelphia was the establishment of the Penn Alexander School, which has become a national model for how higher education institutions can meaningfully contribute to the betterment of the communities in which they reside. The Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander University of Pennsylvania Partnership School is a new K-8 public school located on a five-acre site in the Spruce Hill neighborhood of West Philadelphia. We designed a new, freestanding structure that provides classroom space for 700 students. This community school offers a rich academic program for neighborhood children and serves as a demonstration facility for the Philadelphia School District and the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education.
A community school that draws upon, and contributes to, the vitality of the neighborhood through an innovative community-focused curriculum.
An important goal for the project was the development and conservation of the site. By placing the new building in the center of the site and removing an existing parking lot, large areas of the site were preserved for playgrounds, playfields and outdoor recreation. Our team designed a wetlands garden that serves as part of the stormwater collection system for the site.
Classrooms are arranged in divisible clusters that facilitate team teaching and allow flexible groupings of students based on grade and subject. All of the clusters are organized around a central atrium, which promotes community-oriented interaction at the School.
Structural Engineer: CVM; MEP Engineer: E&M; Landscape Architect: OLIN