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Julis Romo Rabinowitz Building & Louis A. Simpson International Building, Princeton University

22 Mar 2018
Image Credit: Adrien Williams
Architectural Credit: KPMB Architects
Location: Princeton, New Jersey
Architects: KPMB Architects
Date of Completion: 2017

OAA Design Excellence Awards Finalist

Princeton University has a master plan to create a hub for social sciences in its contemporary east campus. This led to the Frick Chemistry Building (designed by Charles Klauder in 1929) and its 1964 addition to become the new home for the Department of Economics and International Initiatives program. KPMB was tasked to transform the dark, hermetic set of structures into a welcoming and light-filled destination for interdisciplinary teaching and research.

Site plan
Drawing Credit: KPMB Architects

Common rooms above, floor plans below.
Drawing Credit: KPMB Architects
Photo Credit: Adrien Williams 

South Elevation
Photo Credit: Adrien Williams 

The adaptive reuse design solution reimagined the former monolithic Gothic-style building as a beautiful learning environment within a system of public gathering spaces and pedestrian networks. The design and expression oscillate between historic preservation and contemporary interventions. The courtyards characterizing Princeton’s campus are reinterpreted in a series of light-filled atria. Three glazed rooftop pavilions become the contemporary interventions among the faithful restoration of the front toward Washington Road. A new stone/glass entrance for International Initiatives opens onto Scudder Square, shared with Freedom Fountain and Woodrow Wilson School. 

International atrium.
Photo Credit: Adrien Williams

Forum atrium.
Photo Credit: Adrien Williams

Forum atrium.
Photo Credit: Adrien Williams 

The structural linkage to the past with contemporary responses presents core lessons in preservation as placemaking. It also speaks to interdisciplinary collaboration versus self-contained silos for improving the human condition. The diversity of interconnected spaces has catalyzed new levels of collaboration between scholars, further cultivating their relationships and understanding of their fields of work. 


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August 14, 2018 14:16 by Anonymous

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