Advancing Designs for a New Museum

Notwithstanding the disruptions of recent months, design of the new Princeton University Art Museum continues apace. Working with the teams at Adjaye Associates and Cooper Robertson, as well as our key University partners, the Art Museum submitted the schematic design this spring, and it was enthusiastically and unanimously approved by the University Trustees’ Grounds and Buildings Committee at its meeting on April 3, 2020. This concept design was also presented to the municipal planning board for discussion on June 4, 2020, where it received particular praise for the interiors and more broadly for the bold ambition of the project, which will help to assure the continuing vitality of downtown Princeton.

The project essentially doubles the size of the Museum while also providing a new home for the University’s Department of Art and Archaeology and a refreshed home for Marquand Library—the primary element of the existing complex that is to be retained. Situated at the heart of the Princeton campus, the new building will occupy three levels in an intertwining of six “pavilions”—anchoring volumes along the building’s edges—with more modestly scaled interstitial spaces that help manage the scale of the new complex. The building will be richly permeable and allow for entry from all four sides, with substantial use of glass elements and a sequence of “lenses” that provide views into the Museum and vistas onto the campus.

As lead architect on the project, Sir David Adjaye continues to provide design direction, including his signature incorporation of a layered materiality through uses of stone, metal, and wood. Galleries, a multifaceted education center, and visitor amenities will feature spaces both grand and intimate, accommodating the range of the Museum’s globe-spanning collections as well as providing enlivening experiences for visitors.

Look for more details on the design later this year and for the start of construction in 2021. Project completion is currently anticipated for 2024.