by Manu SharmaJan 19, 2021
Adjaye Associates has revealed their vision for a new museum facility for the Princeton University in New Jersey. Conceived as ‘a campus within a campus’, the building is aimed to replace and roughly double the square footage of the existing museum that sits next to the Department of Art and Archaeology and the Marquand Library. The design is helmed by Adjaye Associates in collaboration with New York-based firm Cooper Robertson as the project’s executive architects.
The museum’s architecture is envisioned as seven interlocking pavilions comprising art galleries among other recreational spaces in a three storey facility. The monumentality of the entire complex is broken by pockets of intimate spaces closely woven with the landscape.
The building’s exterior features a chunky, undulating façade that presents a welcoming contrast to the otherwise delicate forms of the campus. As per the architects, alternating bands of rough and polished stone surfaces and its ‘pulsating rhythm’ has been inspired by the rich history of the surrounding environment. In addition to stone, bronze and glass are other key materials used in the project.
The design invites visitors from all directions into the art gallery via multiple entrances and thus boasts a scheme with ‘all fronts and no backs’. The major programs are raised on the upper floors while the ground level is defined as part of the landscape, and it allows access routes into the building.
On the first floor, galleries alternate in volume to accommodate the museum’s rich collection of artefacts. Immersed in the grandeur of these spaces, visitors will simultaneously be exposed to extraordinary vistas of the Princeton campus via large openings or ‘lenses’ in the pavilions façade. Crafted in bronze and glass, these openings with ‘a kind of archway effect’ are designed to lighten the scale of the complex and for bridging a seamless indoor-outdoor connect.
In addition to the galleries within the Princeton University Art Museum design, other facilities include a Grand Hall for cultural events, classrooms, labs, outdoor terraces and a rooftop café. Six ground floor entrances are designed keeping in mind ease of circulation and the post pandemic world which would avoid arrival and exit from a singular gateway.
Sir David Adjaye, founder of Adjaye Associates describes the project as ‘a space of genuine inquiry’ that encompasses a multiplicity of ideas and people. The project’s construction is expected to begin in 2021 while its opening is anticipated in late 2024.