View Full Version : Piano Planning New Neighborhood for Princeton

May 4th, 2006, 11:47 AM
Piano Planning New Neighborhood for Princeton

May 3, 2006

Renzo Piano Building Workshop is designing a new 12-acre mixed-use neighborhood on Princeton University's campus in New Jersey. The site is located at University Place and Alexander Street, near one of the primary approaches to the school. Joost Moolhuijzen, a firm partner, who has headed work at the Art Institute of Chicago, is the project lead.

Tentative plans call for sustainable residential and academic buildings, with ground-level retail and commercial space as well as improved pedestrian and vehicle access and parking. The site could also house a new center for the creative and performing arts, along with a new central. Existing buildings, meanwhile, which include a bus and train depot, could undergo major upgrades.

"This is a place where the university and surrounding community connect, so it is a unique opportunity for us to think about neighborhood design," says Mark Burstein, Princeton's executive vice president.

Although budget and construction timelines have yet to be defined, school officials hope to finish a preliminary design by October. The scheme will then be submitted for community review, followed by local planning and permit approval. This could take six to 12 months.

The project is part of a larger campus makeover being led by Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners. Last May, the University hired Hopkins Architects of London to design its new chemistry building and surrounding natural sciences neighborhood. Piano, who just completed the Morgan Library addition in Manhattan, is also working on a new campus for Columbia University.

Tony Illia


May 4th, 2006, 12:21 PM
How much of Princeton's endowment is earmarked for expansion? It already seems like the campus is reproducing itself with so much new construction...though meanwhile it takes 50 minutes for Princetonians to get anywhere.

Sorry, rivalry moment.

May 12th, 2006, 07:36 PM
...though meanwhile it takes 50 minutes for Princetonians to get anywhere.
Princeton already is somewhere.

May 14th, 2006, 07:38 PM
Somewhat true. One of the few places outside the New York or Philadelphia metro areas in New Jersey (it's still suburban, but a suburb of neither). Still, inasmuch as it is independent of those two places, it lacks their urban amenities, and is as far as possible from access to either. And while the town feels like any upscale suburban community, the university is for the most part another timid attempt to mimic Oxbridge, with some interesting but incoherent pieces of modern architectural expression strewn in between.

May 14th, 2006, 09:59 PM
As smallish American college towns go, it's about as good as they come: better than much-revered Chapel Hill and even State College, PA. Palo Alto is nice, and so is Annapolis --though the latter is not really a college town, I guess, despite its two august institutions.

May 14th, 2006, 11:06 PM
Chapel Hill is a great college town. Sure beats the hell out of Durham. I've heard good things about Athens, GA and Burlington, VT too.

October 11th, 2006, 08:24 PM
Plans for arts neighborhood take shape

dailyprincetonian.com (http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/archives/2006/09/19/news/15839.shtml)
By Ross Liemer
Princetonian Senior Writer
September 19, 2006

For the first time since 1918, the Dinky station will be heading south.

The catalyst for its relocation is the development of a creative and performing arts "neighborhood" along Alexander Street, a far-reaching initiative that will create a center of academics, entertainment and retail on the Borough-Township border. Billionaire philanthropist Peter Lewis '55 has already pledged $101 million for the project.

"We don't know the full price tag yet, but it will be at least three times that — something in excess of $300 million," University Vice President and Secretary Bob Durkee '69 said.

The University announced in April that the global architecture firm Renzo Piano Building Workshop will design the complex. The center is expected to comprise several low-rise structures with a total area of about 250,000 sq. ft., Durkee said.

A broad "piazza" will create a bustling focal point of pedestrian activity amid the new buildings. Renzo Piano, founder of the firm that bears his name, intends for the piazza to evoke the public squares of his native Italy, Durkee said.

Roads, railway to be reconfigured

"We're trying to create almost a village for the arts in a highly constrained space," Durkee said.

Meeting this challenge will allow the University to implement two ideas it has contemplated for years: extending University Place, the road that runs from Nassau Street to the Wawa convenience store, and moving the Dinky station south.

Heavy traffic on University Place, which currently makes a sharp turn onto Alexander Street across from Forbes College, creates a dangerous situation for pedestrians, University Architect Jon Hlafter GS '63 said.

"One solution is straightening out University Place so that it continues more or less parallel with the railroad tracks, perhaps as far down or farther than the commuter parking lot," Hlafter said.

A new driveway branching off from University Place and running past New South will provide arts patrons with easy access to the Lot 7 parking garage. The driveway will intersect the current path of the Dinky.

"To make this whole design work, it's very helpful to move the terminus for the Dinky a little further to the south," Durkee said.

A new station will be built about 500 feet closer to Princeton Junction along the existing track. This distance translates to an additional "one or two-minute walk" for riders arriving on campus, Durkee said.

The existing Dinky station buildings will be used for retail venues, possibly including a cafe. The Wawa convenience store will relocate to another site, and its current home will be demolished.

Durkee said that in recent years, the University has held several meetings with New Jersey Transit about a potential station move.

"They've been very supportive," he said. "They need to give us guidance on the construction. There's been no formal outcome of those discussions, but everything to this point suggests they recognize the advantages of doing it."

From Paris to University Place

Piano gained prominence in the late 1970s after co-designing the Centre Georges Pompidou, which houses a public library and modern art museum in a historic section of Paris. Some architectural critics attacked the building for its exterior of girders and utility pipes painted in bright colors.

While Hlafter expects Piano to design "innovative" buildings on the Princeton campus, he noted that "all his buildings are different from each other."

"Unlike Frank Gehry, whose works tend to have a relationship with each other, in the case of Piano you can't find that kind of consistency."

Piano stood out among potential architects for his experience in designing buildings for the creative and performing arts, University Executive Vice President Mark Burstein said.

"He has also done a number of projects through his career that span a large area and multiple buildings — almost building a portion of a town or a city," Burstein added.

The University hopes that a more lively scene along Alexander Street will transform the unsightly area into "a neighborhood center attractive not only to students but to people attending creative and performing arts events," Hlafter said.

New restaurants and shops interspersed among the arts facilities will serve the community and students. It is hoped that the development will make students living in Forbes and the Graduate College feel a stronger connection to the campus.

New facilities to meet needs of arts programs

Perhaps the trickiest part of planning for the arts neighborhood is divvying up the funds and building space among University arts programs.

Vice Provost Katherine Rohrer said the University has consulted the Art Museum and programs in theater, dance, creative writing and visual arts on their "current needs, the needs they will have when the student body increases and the needs they will have as the initiative in the creative and performing arts broadens and deepens interest on campus."

Piano's firm has not yet designed any individual buildings for the complex, and even the number of buildings is unknown at this early date.

Hlafter said there are "many different ideas about how the pieces fit together." Rohrer likewise stressed that nothing is finalized as this point in the planning process.

Certain programs, however, seem likely to end up as tenants of the new arts neighborhood.

"The University's highest priority is to relocate the performing arts activities that are currently by Nassau Street to the new arts neighborhood," Hlafter said.

He said the visual arts program will remain at 185 Nassau St., but the theater and dance offices will move to Alexander Street. Once funds are available, the new location will also feature a full-size performance hall.

"The other piece of the plan is a satellite facility for the Arts Museum," that would house contemporary works, Durkee said.

While the new neighborhood will group many arts programs together, other venues such as Richardson Auditorium and the Woolworth Music Building will remain integral to the University's arts community.

"The faculty task force that worked on the arts initiative strongly recommended what they called 'edge-to-edge deployment' of the arts," Rohrer said. "They envisioned vibrant activity taking place not in one spot but in many spots across campus."

A new neighborhood in town

The new arts neighborhood, designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop, will cost over $300 million.

This conceptual drawing shows preliminary ideas for the area. Final site plans are expected within a year.

Courtesy of: University Communications

1. Existing Dinky station will be renovated and converted to retail use.

2. Development area.

3. New on-street parallel parking.

4. New public piazza designed by Renzo Piano to evoke the public squares of his native Italy. The piazza will be a focal point of the neighborhood.

5. Development area.

6. New Dinky station will be about 500 feet south of the current track terminus.

7. Proposed Dinky drop-off for local commuters.

8. Proposed extended University Place will connect to Alexander Road further south, improving traffic flow and pedestrian safety.

9. New Dinky commuter lot replaces the parking lot destroyed to make way for new construction.

Copyright 2006 Daily Princetonian Publishing Company, Inc.

October 11th, 2006, 08:35 PM
Gehry's Science Project

Courtesy of: Gehry Partners, LLP
Gehry's modern design for the new library will be funded by a
$50-million donation from Peter Lewis '55.

dailyprincetonian.com (http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/archives/2005/02/02/news/11877.shtml)
By Steve Armenti
Princetonian Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 2, 2005

The new science library is currently under construction at the corner of Washington Road and Ivy Lane. The project is on schedule for completion in spring 2007 and will bring together resources from several science departments.

Last week, the University named Skanska USA to manage the construction, a $50-million contract for the company.

"There's nothing else like it in the world," said Skanska USA spokesperson Caroline Buquet.

The Peter B. Lewis Science Library, designed by noted Los Angeles-based architect Frank Gehry, will consolidate collections from the departments of geosciences, chemistry, ecology and evolutionary biology (EEB) and molecular biology for the first time.

Excavation of the site at the corner of Ivy Lane and Washington Road has been completed, and concrete footings are about to be put into place, Project Manager Henry Thomas said.

Skanska USA is familiar to both the University and Gehry. The firm worked on the renovation and expansion of the Marquand art library in 2003, and collaborated with Gehry Partners on the Stata Center at MIT last year.

"We have worked with Gehry architects before and it was a pleasure for us," Buquet said.

The interior structure of the building will contain steel, concrete and brick, but its distinguishing feature will be the interlocking stainless steel panels that will encase its walls and roofing.

"It's a fairly unique and special design," Thomas said.

Gehry is best known for the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, Spain, distinguished by the shimmering titanium panels of its exterior. Peter B. Lewis '55, the auto-insurance magnate who donated $60 million to support the library's construction, has underwritten other Gehry projects in the past, including the management school building at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Lewis also funded the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics located in the Carl Icahn Laboratory.

Though some architects have questioned whether Gehry's metallic modernism fits in with the Collegiate Gothic style of many buildings on the Princeton campus, project planners said one of their prime objectives was to integrate the site with surrounding buildings.

Gehry's modern design for the new library will be funded by a $50-million donation from Peter Lewis '55.Bob Barnett, the vice provost for University space planning who worked with Gehry Partners to draw up plans for the library, said the building will provide an architectural design link between Frist Campus Center, the football stadium, Fine Hall and the Center for Jewish Life.

The library "was given a height dimension to relate to Fine Hall next door," Thomas said. The library's central tower, flanked by two wings, will rise to about one-half of the height of Fine Tower.

Thomas said he was unconcerned by the contrast between Gehry's science library and Whitman College, designed in the Gothic style by architect Demetri Porphyrios, now under construction behind Dillon Gym.

"It is exciting to see both coming up at the same time," he said. "One is designed to utilize the Collegiate Gothic style, while the other is a more modern-day, cutting edge architectural design."

Dotti Pearson, associate librarian for administrative services, said that as construction on the exterior of the building has progressed, the focus of planners has shifted to the layout of the interior.

The library will rise to five stories, including a basement in which most of the books will be shelved. It will connect to Fine Hall through a basement doorway so that library users can move freely between the buildings.

"The building is designed so that as you go to upper floors, it becomes a more quiet space," Pearson said. "There will be a lot of student spaces for different kinds of study," including group study rooms, carrel spaces and small precept rooms, she said.

OIT plans to move some of its services to the new library. An area for vending machines and coffee is slated as well.

The main entrance to the building will be on the first floor on Ivy Lane, with computer terminals and a full-service desk nearby.

Copyright 2005 Daily Princetonian Publishing Company, Inc.

October 11th, 2006, 09:18 PM
Future building plans reviewed

dailyprincetonian.com (http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/archives/2002/11/04/news/6179.shtml)
By Evelyn Rusli
Princetonian Contributor
Monday, November 4, 2002

Gothic meets the 21st century in the preliminary architectural designs for the University's new additions.

Two major projects, Whitman College and the science library, are scheduled to begin construction in early 2004.

Whitman College, located between Baker Rink and Dillon Gym, will follow the traditional Gothic style prevalent throughout campus. The science building, which will be at the corner of Washington Road and Ivy Lane, will use primarily metal and glass in its modern design, the University has announced.

Demetrios Porphyrios GS '80, the architect for Whitman College, and Frank Gehry, the architect for the science building, submitted their initial plans to the Committee on Grounds and Buildings in September. The committee has reacted positively to the plans.

"In both cases they felt that the schematic designs were very interesting, and they authorized further study into determining if it will work out and be within budget," said Jon Hlafter '61, director of physical planning.

The issue of cost remains at the forefront for the design team. The budget for Whitman College is $100 million, and the science building is priced at $60 million.

"Right now both projects are estimated to be about 25 percent over budget, and now we're trying to bring them back on line. We are getting closer," Hlafter said.

According to the preliminary plans, Whitman College will feature three courtyards encompassed in its 275,000-square-foot design. Structurally, the buildings will have typical Gothic elements such as slate roofs and stone walls.

However, the University's commitment to adhere to tradition has created the greatest problem in the effort to complete the project.

"There is a concern that if we're trying to duplicate the kind of buildings built for the college about a hundred years ago that we should do it in the same degree of quality," Hlafter said. "However, by staying true to historical styles, such as thick masonry walls as opposed to paper thin-steel structures, there will be a greater financial cost."

Completely abandoning past designs, Gehry's plans for the new science building are infused with innovative structural elements. Because of its strikingly different style from the Whitman College, there are architectural concerns unique to the building.

"The science library is an usual design as one might expect from Gehry, so it is harder for any group to conceptualize the type of spaces Gehry is envisioning," Hlafter said. Other issues include the feasibility of building maintenance, such as the cleaning of high windows.

Most of the residential colleges on campus were never designed for their current purpose and were adapted to serve as residences. "Even Wilson College, which was originally intended to be a grouping of dormitories, was not designed with the full range of programs essential to a residential college," Hlafter said.

Whitman College will set a precedent for future architectural construction on campus, he said.

"Whitman College will be the first residential college created after an extensive discussion on what should go into college," Hlafter said.

Copyright 2002 Daily Princetonian Publishing Company, Inc.

Whitman College Images


This initial model for Whitman College shows three courtyards
incorporated into the design.
At the top left is New South and at the top right is Dillon Gym.
The four-sided south courtyard is accessible through an open arcade.


Construction Photo Summer 2006:


Three courtyards

Whitman will be designed in the collegiate gothic style that ties in with nearby dormitories built in the first third of the 20th century. The model of the 275,000-square-foot structure shown to the trustees features three courtyards. The north court is three sided and joined to a south court, which is four sided but is accessible through an open arcade, according to Jon Hlafter, director of physical planning. Current plans also show an open, three-sided east court that incorporates a master's residence.

"All of that openness is very intentional," said Hlafter, who pointed out that Goheen Walk will penetrate the south courtyard. "Demetri Porphyrios has described Princeton collegiate gothic courtyards as much more open than their precedents at Oxford and Cambridge, which tend to be completely enclosed quadrangles that can only be entered through a gate."

The current design features exterior stone walls, peaked slate roofs, oak doors and traditional leaded glass casement windows.

October 11th, 2006, 09:24 PM
New hall at Whitman College will honor class of 1981
This architect's rendering shows the five-story, L-shaped 1981 Hall.

princeton.edu/main/news (http://www-cms-edit.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S13/15/68Q31/index.xml?section=newsreleases)

October 11th, 2006, 09:39 PM
Gehry's "Lewis Library" for Science at Princeton



The early designs for the science library show a central tower -- about half the height
of Fine Tower at right -- surrounded by two wings, all faced with metal and glass.

Bold, curved shapes

Gehry's signature bold, curved shapes that seem to defy gravity are evident in the design of the science library. Initial plans show a central tower -- about half the height of Fine Tower -- surrounded by two wings, all faced with metal and glass. Hlafter noted that some of the elements of the structure may be brick, tying in with the surrounding buildings.

"This is 180 degrees away from what we're working on at Whitman," he said. "Obviously, Frank Gehry is one of the truly innovative architects of the 21st century. Rather than look to the past for inspiration, he has his own unique personal style, which is very sculptural and makes use of metal and glass in ways that no other architect does."

The tower will house the library component of the building, consolidating the geosciences, chemistry, ecology and evolutionary biology and molecular biology branch libraries and connecting below grade to the math and physics library in Fine Hall. "Unlike many historic libraries, this one will have relatively few book stacks, and virtually all of those will be at the lowest level below grade," Hlafter said. "What comes out of the ground and into the air is a series of spaces that are surrounded by smaller cubicles or rooms that are either offices or study areas or small conference areas, where people who are doing research will work and meet together."

In the center will be other workstations and access to information, usually in electronic form. "Since all of the floors have not yet been fully programmed, it will be hard to describe what will happen," Hlafter said. "It may differ from floor to floor. We hope those areas will respond to the changing needs of libraries in the future."

One of the wings will have the Digital Map and Geospatial Information Center on the upper levels and an auditorium and classrooms on the lower levels.

The upper levels of the other wing will house the Office of Information Technology's Academic Technology Center (including the Educational Technologies Center and the New Media Center) and the Princeton Institute for Computational Science and Engineering. Classrooms will be on the lower levels. The budget for the project is $60 million.

Princeton Science Library:

Photo: arcspace


Construction Photos:






October 11th, 2006, 09:52 PM
Carl Icahn Laboratory

Photos / Plans shown below are of the Carl Icahn Laboratory which houses the Lewis-Sigler Institute.

Building (http://www.genomics.princeton.edu/topics/building.html) design by Rafael Viñoly Architects (http://www.rvapc.com/) of New York.

Photographs by Ramon Viñoly.











Copyright © 2006 Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics.

October 12th, 2006, 01:00 PM
It's hard for me to grasp the Gehry building. I'll have to see it in person.

But the Viñoly building is stunning. Too bad it looks out on an empty field.

October 12th, 2006, 06:23 PM
But the Viñoly building is stunning.
Looks better in person, huh?

October 13th, 2006, 10:47 AM
No, sorry, I haven't seen in it person. Just the pictures of the southern elevation really look great.