Project Fact Sheet

The project incorporates rich material choices indoors and out, including bronze “lens” moments, terrazzo flooring in public spaces, hardwood floors in the galleries, and important works of art embedded throughout

At-a-glance information including timeline, materials, dimensions, and more

  • Project description: A new and expanded Princeton University Art Museum. The building will be shared with the Department of Art & Archaeology and Marquand Library.
  • Location: Located on the historic campus, positioned between Elm Drive and Chapel Drive along McCosh Walk, on the site of the existing Museum.
  • Timeline:
    • Construction start: summer 2021
    • Project completion: 2025
  • Architects: Adjaye Associates, design architects (Accra, London, and New York), in collaboration with Cooper Robertson, executive architects (New York)
  • Architecture style: Modern
  • Project configuration: The building was conceived as seven interconnected pavilions that are woven into the campus landscape. Two major “art walks” bring visitors through the facility at the ground level and connect the building with major campus walkways. 

Public and educational program spaces are primarily located on the ground floor; art installation, exhibition, and conservation spaces are located on the second floor; and a public café and staff offices are located on the third floor.

Compared to the existing building, the proposed design increases Museum educational spaces by 76%, exhibition area by 38%, and visitor amenities by 80%.

  • Dimensions: 144,000 gross square feet, located on three floors.
  • Building materials:
    • Exterior facade is composed primarily of highly sculptural stone aggregate panels, alternating between rough and polished finishes, with bronze panels and aluminum-framed triple-pane glazing.
    • Interior flooring is primarily terrazzo and hardwood.
    • Glulam beams support the roofs within the Main Entry, Monumental Stair Hall, Grand Hall, and Pavilion Galleries and provide one of the building’s defining design elements.
    • The Monumental Entrance Hall and Grand Stair will have terrazzo walls with embedded art displays.
  • Building program: The building complex will encompass the expanded Art Museum as well as the Department of Art & Archaeology and—in its current configuration—Marquand Library. From the outset, the project has been conceived as a nexus or hub that will bring the University community together and serve as a cultural gateway to the Princeton campus for the wider public.

The building has been designed in “zones” that allow for portions of the facility to operate at different hours and for different purposes. During gallery hours, visitors will be able to visit 49,000 square feet of exhibition area, largely located on the second floor. During expanded building hours, visitors will have access to the Education Center, Grand Hall, Museum Store, and more via two “art walks” that form the core circulation on the ground floor. This zone will be operated to extended hours, such as 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week, during which glimpses can be had into the galleries, inviting a return visit during gallery hours.

The ground-floor Education Center will serve a variety of constituents and includes 5 (of 6) object-study classrooms for investigating works of art in the original, 2 creativity labs, a small lecture hall seating 60, and 2 seminar rooms. The Grand Hall will seat 238 in auditorium-style seating, which is retractable to allow the space to flip from one use to another very quickly. It will accommodate up to 250 users for performances in the round. A sixth object-study classroom will be located within the full-service Conservation Studio to be created on the second floor, which will provide care for paintings, objects, and works on paper.

The building contains offices and adjoining meeting spaces for Museum staff, Department of Art & Archaeology faculty and administrators, and the staff of Marquand Library.  

  • Landscaping highlights: Adjaye Associates guided and informed the landscape design, which is overseen by James Corner Field Operations. The landscape scheme preserves and minimizes impact to nearby Prospect Gardens, to the east of the site, and the mature canopy of elms and beeches along McCosh Walk, on the north edge of the site. A number of historically important and/or specimen trees will be protected and preserved as part of the landscape plan; select others will be relocated. On the west side, the open space design reinforces and connects to existing campus circulation and accommodates campus gatherings, including Reunions. The terracing or “trays” here will accommodate up to 2,000 users, while a more intimate natural amphitheater on the east side will accommodate 200. The design of the planting connects to Princeton’s ecological network with the planting of native species.