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Agnes Irwin School 

Agnes Irwin School 

Project Information

Agnes Irwin School
Rosemont, PA

  • Campus Planning​​

  • Renovation

  • Transformation 

  • New Construction

  • Multiple Projects

Honors and Awards

  • 2007 National School Boards Association Citation of Excellence​

  • 2006 AIA Westchester/Hudson Valley Recognition of Arch. Excellence​

  • 2006 American School & University William W. Caudill Citation​ (for the Best K-12 academic project in the U.S. in 2006)

  • 2000 American School & University Gold Citation

  • 2000 Learning by Design Citation of Excellence​​

  • 1999 Associated Builders and Contractors Award


Agnes Irwin is a day school founded in 1869. The 18-acre campus is compact and is surrounded by a residential neighborhood in a suburb of Philadelphia. The school serves approximately 650 girls from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. Our work consisted of a campus master plan, the transformation of a 1960s library, renovation of the Lower School, and the construction of a new building to house visual arts, performing arts, and science.

New Arts and Science Center:  This 30,000 sf new building is an interdisciplinary place with collaborative spaces for students to engage in the sciences, visual arts  and performing arts.  The building is based on the idea of an art gallery where the two-story entry lobby, the open stair, and all of the corridors are used to display student art and the work of visiting artists.  Every instructional space has interior windows facing out to the corridors.  By maximizing internal visibility, the excitement of each discipline is shared with all users of the building.   A bridge connects the new Arts and Science Center to the Upper School and the transformed Moss Library.

Moss Library:  The Upper School library was constructed in the 1960s in an austere building that featured interior walls and ceilings of exposed concrete.  The library was located on two levels, joined to each other by a narrow stairway.  We transformed the library by creating a large opening between the upper and lower levels, and creating an open mezzanine lounge.  The three-level interior space features a more refined, modernist interior.  Staying within the original footprint, the new library is more spacious and transparent.  It is now a welcoming, light-filled place with interconnected spaces that are easy to understand and supervise.

Moss Library


The Moss Library at Agnes Irwin is the dedicated library space for the Upper School at this independent school for girls.  The original library was constructed in the 1960s in an austere building featuring interior walls and ceilings of exposed, reinforced concrete.  The library was located on two levels, with little connection between them; each level functioned as a separate space, joined by a narrow stairway. 

Our plan to visually connect the two main levels of the library called for cutting a large opening in the floor of the upper level to allow visibility to the level below. We enhanced that visibility by designing a mezzanine-level reading lounge, adjacent to an outside glass wall.  All three levels are linked by open stairs with glass railings. The increased visibility at all levels makes the 6,500 sf library easy to understand and supervise.

The new interior space is a more refined, modernist environment with ash paneling, slatted acoustical ceilings, limestone bases, muted carpeting, customized task lamps and ceiling fixtures, and cherry tables and chairs.  Within its original footprint, the transformed library is welcoming and more spacious.

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