Royal Gold medal-winning architect David Adjaye is adding another cultural institution to his ever-expanding body of work.
Adjaye Associates recently revealed designs for the Princeton University Art Museum, set to debut in late 2024. The building's new design is a collaboration between museum director James Steward and architecture firm Cooper Robertson and will offer nearly double the square footage of the current space. Per the press release, the design will invoke a building that “fosters new modes of investigation, reflects and deepens our commitment to equity and inclusion and affords new moments of aspiration and inspiration.”
The Princeton University Art Museum dates back to 1755 and is home to more than 110,000 works of art. The new three-story museum will feature seven “primary interlocked pavilions” that will house new galleries that alternate in volume. Replacing the existing facility, the museum’s facade will comprise a mix of rough and polished-finished stone surfaces that will “welcome visitors from all directions.” Within, there will be a mix of materials including bronze, stone, and glass which aim to “break up the scale of the complex” and “foster moments of discovery and surprise as visitors encounter ideas and objects in ways that move beyond the boundaries of geography and chronology,” states the press release.
“By challenging the traditional hierarchies inherent in multilevel gallery display, the Museum will foster moments of discovery and surprise as visitors encounter ideas and objects in ways that move beyond the boundaries of geography and chronology.”
The design also puts an emphasis on making the museum, which is already centrally located on Princeton’s campus, a hub and gathering space, as well as improving accessibility. With that comes a Grand Hall best suited for lectures, performances, and events of up 2,000 attendees; two “creativity labs”, several classroom spaces, and a rooftop cafe. There will be four pavilions situated at each corner of the new complex that will offer 18-foot-high ceilings, a flood of natural light, hardwood floors, and beamed ceilings.
Additionally, the museum will feature outdoor terraces that “diminish borders between indoors and out” and the second level will give way to many of the museum’s galleries, while pedestrian pathways will simultaneously function as “art walks.”
"The reconstruction of the Princeton University Art Museum is conceived as a campus within the campus,” said Adjaye, “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.”
The Smithsonian Museum of African American Arts and Culture in Washington, D.C., Studio Museum in Harlem, and Ruby City in San Antonio, TX are all cultural museums designed by Adjaye.
Construction is slated to begin in 2021.