Princeton University — new residential colleges built for community

Princeton, NJ
485,000 square feet
Type: Academic

We have designed two new residential colleges for Princeton University, each to serve 510 students. The project represents a major expansion of the campus and the first step in the University’s plans to recenter campus life in the residential colleges. The project also allows the university to expand enrollment by up to 1,000 students.

During Programming and Pre-design, we developed three design options for the site, based on the existing campus culture of connective, open buildings and landscapes with distinct identities. The studies resulted in the coherent but distinguished architectural identities for the two colleges, maximizing connections to campus, to an intact woodland, to athletics, and most importantly, among students.

The central aim of our design is to create a welcoming and inclusive college experience. The buildings offer an open and visible ground floor that is active, extroverted, and welcoming. It was important that the residential colleges’ ground-floor spaces — the public-facing community programs — connect to campus patterns, walkways, and landscapes, serving as the “front doors” to the shared facilities that turn the colleges into communities. Public spaces and common spaces connect with arts facilities and other program spaces in a transparent “storefront” base that engages students passing by.

One highly-visible exterior program space, a colorfully tiled platform, provides a place to convene, perform, and exchange ideas. By locating these community resources in such visible spots, the design intends to engage the University community in everyday moments of creativity and action.

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The University has reflected on what it wants to be in the 21st century: diverse, inclusive, a place where all students feel a sense of belonging. We share these values, and have been excited to give them architectural expression.

Maitland Jones, Partner


Deborah Berke Partners
Architect, Interior Designer

James Corner Field Operations
Landscape Architect

Programming Consultant

Structural Engineer

ADS Engineers
MEP/FP Engineer

Civil Engineer

Atelier Ten
Sustainability Consultant

Front, Inc.
Facade Consultant

Estimating Consultant

Ricca Design Studios
Food Service Consultant

One Lux
Lighting Designer

R.W. Sullivan
Code Consultant

Theater Projects
Theater Design Consultant