Architecture Building

Architect: Nes and Fisher; supervising architect: Douglas Orr

Date of Construction: 1959-1963

Materials: glass, brick, concrete foundation.

Floors: 2, basement on the south side

Uses: Princeton School of Architecture: classroom, offices

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The Architecture Building was commissioned in 1959 as part of a $53 million campaign to modernize the Princeton campus under the direction of supervising architect Douglas Orr.(1) The T-shaped structure was deigned by the architects Nes and Fisher, both Princeton alumni (class of 1928 and 1923 respectively).(2) The entrance way is by far the most visually interesting point of the building. Framed between two protruding wings, the slightly off-center entrance is made up of all glass. A small staircase leads up to the entranceway that is crowned by two stories. The entrance is transparent to the other side except for a set of double backed stairs to the left that obstructs the view. 

The wings are made of alternating projecting brick bays and large vertical windows . The brick walls slightly protrude on the second and third level leaving the basement of all glass windows slightly set back. This gives an appearance of the whole building floating upon a thin ribbon window.(3)

Although definitely modern, the heavy brick wings allow for the building to blend in with the campus of stone. Only when the visitor comes around to the front entrance and sees the large expanse of glass does the building become intensely modern. The Architecture Building fits in with the idea of showcasing Princeton’s park-like campus by providing generous amounts of windows to look out from.

(1) Greiff, Constance M., Mary W. Gibbons, Elizabeth G. Menzies. Princeton Architecture, A Pictoral History of the Town and Campus. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1967. Print. 180.

(2) Craig, Robert W., Constance M. Greiff. “Architecture School; Historic Site Inventory Number: 1109-6-13”. The Report of the Princeton Architectural Survey. Princeton, NJ: New Jersey Office of Cultural and Environmental Services Historic Presentation Section, 1981. Print.

(3) Grieff, Constance M.. 180.


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