Sir David Adjaye has created an inclusive new vision for Princeton University Art Museum’s new building. Located at the heart of the campus, the project will replace and roughly double the square footage of the existing facility. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2021 with an anticipated opening in late 2024.
The Princeton University Art Museum has revealed the design for its latest intervention “embodying flexibility, openness, and connectivity to break down barriers to participation and invite entry by all”. Including stone, bronze, and glass, the building speaks to the present moment and the historic Princeton context. Selected as the project architect in September 2018, in collaboration with Cooper Robertson as the project’s executive architect, Adjaye Associates designed an extension that “embodies the Museum’s longstanding commitment to serving as a hub and a gathering place, a nexus for the arts and humanities”.
The reconstruction of the Princeton University Art Museum is conceived as a campus within the campus […] a space of genuine inquiry where the exhibition of diverse practices, learning as a synthesis of knowledge and cross-cultural connections weave together into a singular experience that encompasses a multiplicity of ideas and peoples. -- Sir David Adjaye
The new and expanded Princeton University Art Museum will be shared with the Department of Art & Archaeology and Marquand Library. Conceived as seven interconnected pavilions, woven into the campus landscape, the project brings the visitor to its premises through two major “art walks” at ground level. “Numerous bronze and glass “lenses” are positioned between the pavilions to break up the scale of the complex and to shape framed glimpses into the Museum and extraordinary vistas out onto the Princeton campus”.
Occupying three stories, “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”. Moreover, the undulating facade responds to the delicate forms of nearby buildings.
Challenging the traditional composition of a multilevel gallery display, “the design of the new building allows the Museum’s globe-spanning collections to be exhibited substantially on a single level”. Bringing therefore architecture and curatorial practice together, galleries will alternate in volume to “accommodate the Museum’s collections and to combat visitor fatigue”. Joining nearly 30 architectural styles reflected on Princeton’s campus, the Adjaye scheme will increase the Museum educational spaces by 76%, exhibition area by 38%, and visitor amenities by 80%.