Size: 200,000 s.f.
The re-purposing of the 20 Washington Road building from its former use as the Frick Chemistry building (1929) will participate in Princeton University’s master plan vision to build academic neighbourhoods that have strong scholarly connections and provide much-needed space for expanded opportunities for teaching and research. The renovated building will be at the centre of the social sciences and humanities departments in the William Street neighbourhood and provide a new home for the economics department, several international offices and the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies (PIIRS).
The 20 Washington Road building is located in the north-east precinct of the campus and occupies a prominent position at the intersection of Washington Road and William Street. The site is situated on the seam where the historic west campus meets the more contemporary east campus. To the south, the building fronts on Scudder Plaza, a significant modern public space on the east campus.
The project has an area of 200,000 s.f. and involves the adaptive reuse of the 20 Washington Road building to house Princeton’s economics department and International Initiatives units. The building was built in 1929 and has had several additions over the years, containing large laboratory classrooms, offices and mechanical spaces.
20 Washington Road comprises a collegiate Gothic building and a 1964 extension completed in the same style. The existing building is monolithic in scale yet disconnected from the adjacent landscape. The building is clad in argylite stone with limestone-framed windows — the traditional palette of materials that characterizes the heritage campus buildings. The design concept focuses on an extensive transformation of the interior into a light-filled, accessible learning environment with a coherent system of corridors and public spaces while preserving the historic character of the exterior and key primary interior spaces, particularly the entry and the second floor library.
The economics department will be largely housed in the western 1929 part of the building. The historic entrance on Washington Road is on an axis with a newly constructed forum that functions as the heart of the academic community. Three glazed rooftop pavilion meeting rooms are added to the uppermost level affording spectacular views of the historic buildings to the west of Washington Road. International Initiatives will largely occupy the eastern part of the building, the 1964 addition. Their main entrance is a new three-storey atrium accessed from Scudder Plaza to the south, and a secondary entrance is provided from William Street to the north.
The surrounding campus areas also will be transformed to create a series of interlinking landscaped open spaces and courts that again are more in the tradition of the campus landscape.
The new additions and the renovations of the existing building fabric will share a contemporary modern language that complements the heritage components of the buildings that are preserved. Traditional campus materials will be employed including bluestone paving inside and out, limestone and wood.
Currently, faculty members in the economics department have offices spread across the Princeton University campus. The adaptive reuse of 20 Washington Road will enable Princeton’s goal to consolidate its economics department into a single location and provide a supportive, collegial platform on which to evolve and sustain a vibrant intellectual community. It will also centralize many international initiatives to improve the experience for those seeking international services.
20 Washington Road, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Renovation and addition to provide offices and classrooms for Princeton’s economics department, the International Initiative Programs and the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies.
Bruce Kuwabara (design partner), Shirley Blumberg (partner-in-charge), David Jesson (senior associate), Mark Jaffar (associate), Lynn Pilon (project architect), Gabriel Fain, Annie Pelletier, Ya’el Santopinto, Elizabeth Paden, Victor Garzon, Clementine Chang, Carolyn Lee, Dina Sarhane, Rachel Cyr, Kristina Strecker
Thornton Tomasetti (structural, building envelope), AltieriSeborWieber (mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection), Van Note-Harvey and Associates (civil), Phil R. Sherman, P.E. (building code, fire and life safety), Vermeulens (cost), Brian Ballantyne. Specifications (specifications), Cerami & Associates (acoustics, audio visual), Van Deusen(elevator), Tillotson Design Associates (lighting), Entro Communications (signage), Jablonski Building Conservation (heritage), Atelier Ten (sustainability), Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (landscape)
Barr & Barr