Princeton University Art Museum

A building designed as a series of pavilions on the historic campus

Project Date
Princeton, NJ
Princeton University
Cooper Robertson
Collaborating Architect
Adjaye Associates
Consultant Team
Silman, Kohler Ronan, James Corner Field Operations, Heintges, Nitsch Engineering, Tillotson, 2x4, VDA, Vidaris

A building designed as “all front and no backs”, the new Princeton University Art Museum replaces the existing 1920s, 1060s, and 80s structures and will double the size of the existing Museum.

For the past two years, I have been working on the design of the new Princeton University Art Museum, in collaboration with Adjaye Associates.

I currently lead design for discreet parts of the new building, namely the Grand Stair, the north Entry Court, and interface between the new and existing buildings. Separately, I am managing the renovation of the existing Marquand Library, which is being incorporated into the new building. The project is currently under construction and is scheduled to be completed in summer 2024.

Primary Responsibilites:

  • Construction documentation and administration.
  • Coordination with design architect, client, and consultant team.
  • Leading design team responses to construction RFIs and submittals.
  • Project Manager for Marquand Library renovation.


A campus within a campus

A ground floor designed to work with existing campus paths and networks

The majority of the gallery spaces are raised up onto the first floor, with the ground floor given over to various pre-existing access routes across the site. The public spaces of the museum are designed to be open 24 hours to students with the museum operating on its own time schedule above it.


A hub and cultural gateway for the arts and humanities on campus, and a desination for visitors around the world:


Grand Stair

A feature stair in the entrance hall provides welcome access to the galleries on the upper floors.

I worked closely with the design team at Adjaye Associates to develop detail design drawings for the Grand Stair. The stair is constructed primarily of cast-in-place concrete finished with a heavy sandblast on the vertical faces and a smooth honed finish on the top faces.

Solid stone inlays at the treads compliment the finished terrazzo floors, while the bronze balustrade assembly - a finish used throughout the new building - provides rich material contrast. The form of the bronze balustrade went through numerous iterations before arriving at the final design, which has a complex filigree but is defined by a strict set of geometric rules.

Shop drawings, mock-ups, and construction

The drawings opposite are intended to describe the typical workflow during the construction administration process using the Grand Stair as an example. Drawings by the metal fabricator were reviewed for compliance with Adjaye Associates design intent and Cooper Robertson construction documents in advance of a site mock-up. Close coordination between the various trades and materials (concrete, stone, metal, woodwork, terrazzo) was essential to ensure a satisfactory end product.

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