Princeton 1 / Princeton 2
Two separate, adjacent projects at the University of Princeton investigate understandings of space and preservation. The former is a debate hall built upon the burnt ruins of historic Clio Hall, creating . The latter is an art gallery for selected works that redefines ambiguous open space into three smaller courtyards while simultaneously strengthening an axis that has existed on the campus since its conception. These projects seek to find new beauty where it is primarily old beauty that defines academic life.
1 [Clio Debate Hall]
Historic Clio Hall has been lost in a fire, burning all but its marble shell. The new program, a debate hall for one of Princeton’s prestigious debate societies, overlaps and infiltrates the remaining structure. This allows Clio to maintain its dual symmetry with the adjacent Whig Hall; these two structures reinforce the axis created by Nassau Hall.
A system of structural parallel walls is imposed upon the existing ruins, creating fluid transition between the campus’ primary pedestrian artery and the ceremonial lawn opposite Clio Hall. This system, along with a careful deconstruction of the old shell, will allow new volumes to slide and hover, maintaining small measurement between new from old. These volumes house an archive, circulation, a library, a gallery, and an auditorium for debate. The introduction of new forms is subdued by maintaining the scale enforced by adjacent buildings.
Space within the ruins not occupied by the new program will hold a winter garden. The scars created in flame will become covered in time by vines, gravel, and the optimism of spring time. This is to be a place of quiet gathering and reflection, accessed through the original front entrance from a rarely occupied lawn.
Critic: Katherine Ambroziak
2 [A Gallery For Selected Works]
Princeton University has historically been a campus not characterized by its buildings, but rather the negative spaces that those buildings create. However, as the campus has grown, it has moved further from its original core and much of this negative space has become ambiguous. There is a need to redefine the boundaries of these spaces while also recognizing the iconic beginnings of the entire institution – Nassau Hall.
In creating a hard edge with a massive facade, a connection is established between the new campus and the old, and an indefinite outdoor space is transformed into three intimate courtyards. Using the metaphor of morning, day and evening, the courtyards become active spaces that encourage the public life of a campus.
Also given the task of re-presenting the gallery, an elongated, linear structure solves the problem of creating a dynamic interior while still maintaining the value of essential “Princeton” space. The main volume, elevated above the ground, becomes a stately gallery for sculpture that is in turn interrupted by three smaller galleries which allow for the hanging of paintings and other works. These galleries each correlate with a courtyard, animating the life of that courtyard in both metaphor and function.
The final product renders a gallery dynamic in its own right, while still managing to remain definitively quintessential Princeton.
Project Partners – Daniel Luster, Lauren Hurley
Critic: Brian Ambroziak