Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander University of Pennsylvania Partnership School

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

  • FIRM

    Atkin Olshin Schade Architects


    The Univ. of Pa.; School District of Pa. and the Philadelphia Fed. of Teachers

  • AREA

    84,500 sq.ft.





The Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander University of Pennsylvania Partnership School is a K-8 school on the former site of the University of Pennsylvania’s Divinity School in East Philadelphia. The historical stone buildings were built from 1928 through the 1960s. The multilevel facility presented an architectural challenge but is suited to the experimental curriculum ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCAPACITY700COST PER SQ FT$226.00FEATURED IN2005 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYSpecialized for the public school: providing a diverse ”neighborhood for learning” and emphasizing academic connections to the community.

A new, freestanding structure adjacent to the existing buildings provides classroom space for 700 students along with a gymnasium, cafeteria, library and administrative space. The existing buildings were renovated to house a community daycare program. Part of the facility will be dedicated to a professional teacher-development program, enabling lessons from the school to be shared throughout Philadelphia public school systems.

The layout of the school provides students with an identifiable community of peers within the overall student body. The classrooms are arranged in divisible clusters that allow flexible groupings of students based on grade level or curriculum subject. All clusters are linked with a multistory atrium, which provides the basis for a school community within the facility. The new building steps down the sloping site, resulting in a multilevel complex that connects the students directly to the landscape.