Princeton University

Princeton University

KPMB Architects

KSS Architects
Princeton, NJ, USA | View Map
Année du projet

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KPMB Architects


Adrien Williams
Fiche technique du produit

ÉlémentMarqueProduct Name
Floor and wall tilesMosa
LightingB-K Lighting
FabricantsVitro Architectural Glass
FabricantsKingspan Group

Fiche technique du produit
Floor and wall tiles

Julis Romo Rabinowitz Building & Louis A. Simpson International Building, Princeton University

KPMB Architects en tant que Architectes.

Repurposing a 1929 Collegiate Gothic building as the new academic home for Princeton’s Economics Department

The former Frick Chemistry Laboratories at 20 Washington Road has been fully renovated and with strategic new additions is the new home for key academic and administrative units at Princeton University. The Julis Romo Rabinowitz (JRR) Building houses Princeton’s Economics department and related research centers, and the University’s international initiatives are newly sited in the Louis A. Simpson International Building. This project realizes the University’s Master Plan vision to create a hub for social sciences, and transform the large, monolithic building into a porous, transparent and welcoming learning and research environment.

The building is located in the north-east precinct of the campus and occupies a prominent position east of Washington Road on Scudder Plaza – on the seam where the historic west campus meets the more contemporary east campus. The campus pedestrian pathway system was extended into this precinct as part of the landscape design, and a new south atrium and bridge entrance to the Simpson Building directly connects to Scudder Plaza. On Washington Road, the Beatrix Farrand landscape has been restored and forms the entrance court to the JRR Building. New glazed rooftop pavilions complement the heritage façade, and deliver flexible meeting and seminar rooms with remarkable views to the historic campus to the west.

Princeton University

Teknion en tant que Fabricants.


Chartered in 1746, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, is a premier center for higher education, offering undergraduate and graduate instruction in the humanities and sciences. Princeton’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) provides a robust infrastructure for computing in the service of learning, teaching and research. Formerly scattered across the campus, a majority of OIT staff are now housed in an off-campus administrative facility at 701 Carnegie Center, a four-story building that OIT shares with the Office of Finance and Treasury.  

Five of the six OIT departments were relocated and consolidated at 701 Carnegie Center: Enterprise Infrastructure Services, Administrative Information Services, Administration and Finance, Project and Consulting Services, and a portion of Support Services. Academic Services are housed at Lewis Library. The new OIT office space comprises open work areas and private offices, computer training rooms, meeting spaces, a café and a fitness facility.

Initially, OIT staff resisted moving off the beautiful Princeton campus. To facilitate acceptance of the change, KSS Architects involved staff members in design development, which helped to allay concerns about being consigned to a featureless environment. The design team also helped OIT staff to see the value of a workplace that would encourage cross-departmental collaboration and promote a deeper feeling of community. 


Designed to promote new interactions between and among work groups, floor plans developed for the OIT office provide a flexible mix of open work areas, private offices and meeting spaces. The combination of physical proximity and opportunity for casual meetings in the café and fitness center are expected to lead to more frequent interaction and better working relationships.      

Teknion’s District product was chosen to create open-plan workstations, as well as to furnish private offices constructed with Altos full-height architectural walls. In addition, Princeton opted for the Marketplace worktable for select work areas in which an open benching product was deemed most appropriate. 

Distinguished by its long, low profile, District windows and walls create definition and structure, while maintaining a line of sight with members of the work group and making the most of available light. The high level of visibility encourages people to converse frequently and spontaneously, thus facilitating the flow of ideas and information that will lead to better ways of leveraging technology in support of teaching and learning. 

Altos architectural walls create private offices with glass storefronts designed to contribute to a perception of accessibility, thus promoting communication between all levels of staff. At the same time, Altos and District integrate seamlessly allowing District to be used within the private offices and across the open floorplan. Both Altos and District lend themselves to reconfiguration as OIT’s needs change over time, thereby ensuring a long product life.

District’s lightly scaled workstations and overlapping surfaces maximize the use of space and, at the same time, create a sense of spaciousness and transparency aligned with LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) requirements for light and view — and Princeton’s ethos of environmental responsibility. By making thoughtful choices about design, the new offices achieved LEED Gold certification.

Like District, Marketplace appealed to the Princeton project team in multiple ways. Both products offer a clean architectural look and precise details that are suited to the crisp, clean glass-and-steel look of the OIT building. The high quality of the products is readily apparent and consonant with the expectations of a key technology-oriented team within a forward-thinking, world-class educational institution.    

Ultimately, Princeton’s goal was to create a professional work environment that would harness the collective intelligence of OIT staff. According to Betty Leydon, Vice President for Information Technology and CIO, the move was designed to “give both OIT and campus community members an opportunity to look, with a fresh eye, at ways to use technology to connect to each other and work more effectively on IT projects.” Staff members have already begun to realize the benefits of moving to an attractive, healthy, intelligently designed work environment.

Princeton University

Entro en tant que Consultants.

The social sciences program at Princeton University aims to advance our understanding of human society while speaking to some of the 21st century’s largest societal issues. As part of the Master Plan to develop a social sciences hub, the university commissioned the renovation and expansion of their existing 1929 gothic-style heritage building with the intent to maintain the historical significance of the envelope, while reorganizing and modernizing the interior layout. Entro worked closely with architect KPMB to detail the exterior and interior needs for identification, orientation and donor recognition that tie into a campus-wide directional sign system.


The building’s address at 20 Washington Road belongs to the first group of historic buildings located at the campus centre. The architectural solution honours the original building while introducing a transparent and open environment for students. We wanted to echo this balance with a wayfinding and donor recognition program that could work with both the gothic style architecture and the architects’ modern addition.


The interior signage is designed with glass-like panels and stainless steel details. Signs are trimmed with brushed stainless steel and cut out numerals that indicate the building level. We specifically chose these materials to maintain a minimalist look that would work with both the existing gothic architecture and the new, modern addition.


With departments being far away from one another and spread out over multiple levels, one of our challenges was to ensure directories offer comprehensive information to guide students accordingly yet maintain a simplistic informational system so as to manage visual clutter. The signage was governed by ADA and NJUCC guidelines, and care was taken to work with a code consultant to ensure the strict requirements were met.


For the interior donor recognition program, we inspired ourselves by the design from other campus buildings, readapting the concepts to fit into the new standard of layout and text information. We established a hierarchy of sign layouts and text scales for different donor values and differentiate the donor signage from the wayfinding program with bronze finishes. Extensive mockups and testing ensured the right balance throughout the donor wall and named spaces.


The exterior donor recognition is integrated into the architectural elements of the building — recessed letters on a stone bench and stainless steel letters mounted directly onto glass beside the entrance. The aim was to have simplicity and preserve clear views, without any heavy sign boxes or panels.


Overall, the now 197,500-square-foot building boasts a strong wayfinding and donor recognition program that helps students find their way and educates them on the generosity of donors that made this building and other university programming possible.

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