We are currently designing two new residential colleges for Princeton University, each serving 500 students. The 485,000-square-foot project represents a major expansion of the campus and a first step in the university’s upcoming 30-year campus plan.

The colleges maximize connections: to campus, to an intact woodland, to athletics, to recreation, and most importantly, among students. With carefully calibrated gestures, the colleges are designed for a cohesive community organized around the many spheres of undergraduate life. The new buildings will include dining, sleeping, studying, cultural, and social spaces to enrich the daily lives of undergraduates during their four years on campus.

One of the aims of the design is to create places where undergraduate students feel at home on a campus with a welcoming and inclusive university community. The student experience has been a point of critical focus for Princeton and ourselves, along with a rich and varied access to a communal college experience.
Rendering between colleges from entrance path.
Key People
Arthi Krishnamoorthy
Project Lead
Noah Biklen
Design Lead
Aaron Plewke
Project Manager
Collaborators

Deborah Berke Partners

Architect, Interior Designer

Silman

Structural Engineer

ADS Engineers

MEP/FP Engineer

James Corner Field Operations

Landscape Architect

Langan

Civil Engineer

Atelier Ten

Sustainability Consultant

Front, Inc.

Facade Consultant

Nasco

Estimating Consultant

Ricca Design Studios

Food Service Consultant

One Lux

Lighting Designer

R.W. Sullivan

Code Consultant

Theater Projects

Theater Design Consultant

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The most rewarding goal of the design process for this project has been to foster a sense of belonging through the built environment – to create spaces where different backgrounds and viewpoints will be represented, respected and welcomed.
Our design emphasizes visibility and interconnectedness, making students aware these are shared spaces by visually connecting the activities within: the common room is visible from the main entrance, the dining hall extends through interior and exterior areas, and the library opens up to light and the surrounding landscape. First-floor public programs are placed in a transparent “storefront” base throughout the eight buildings, so that the activities within are visibly shared with the entire community.
The visibility of internal spaces extends to the organization of the façade, where at moments, the building’s program is expressed externally. Interior spaces are programmatically flexible, capable of responding to the student body’s changing needs, and pin-up walls and interactive art elements allow students to make the space their own.
Prism casting rainbows onto hand.
A sense of personal belonging is ultimately created through experience and discovery, so we are scattering “messaging” elements through the spaces – subtle, yet special moments in unexpected places, ranging from art intervention at the scale of a building to interactive exhibits at the scale of an object. They are something you discover over time - something only you know about. Naturally, we can’t choreograph everything in advance, but our design interventions can be a catalyst to start the process of belonging.