Fine Hall

Architects: Warner, Brunes, Toan & Lunde

Date of Construction: 1968

Materials: stone (dark granite), red brick, glass

Floors: 3 in the eastern portion of the building, 10 in the tower

Uses: Department of Mathematics and Statistics; offices, classrooms

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Fine Hall was constructed in 1968 and dedicated as the Department of Mathematics and Department of Statistics in 1970 . The complex lacks exterior ornament and is composed of two parts: with a ten story tower sitting on top of a long three-story building. The three-story sections of the building holds classrooms and graduate student offices and studies.(1) Each floor of the tower houses seven faculty offices and a seminar room; the top floor serves as a professors’ lounge.(2)
The tower is the tallest building on campus and is a vertical foil to the mainly horizontal bulk of the design, consisting of the long three-story building and a courtyard that connects to Jadwin Hall. The tower was chosen to fit a lot of classrooms and academic facilities without sacrificing too much green space on the campus.(3) At the time the complex was proposed, the Princeton community rejected the plans citing that the tower would ruin the neo-Gothic skyline of the University.(4) Arthur Keyes, a graduate from Princeton’s architecture school in 1939, commented that “a complex this size could become a very dull lump without the contrasting vertical element”(5). Each side of the square-shaped tower had three bays with large piers that frame the ends. The corners are truncated and have windows deeply recessed into the stone. The top floor is without bays and the expansive windows offer views of the whole campus. The top of the tower is crowned with a huge block of windowless stone which causes the tower to appear heavy and severe.
The three-story portion of the complex is broken up into two architectural elements. The ground level is recessed with a covered walkway supported by massive columns. The first floor facade is made mostly of glass and steel. The two upper stories are divided by alternating bays of single, large windows juxtaposed with bays that contain two windows inlaid into stone. In the center of the building, a library is visible in the basement through a double height atrium. The very end of the complex is capped by a service tower that extends slightly higher than the third story and serves to balance out the massive tower.
The design, including the courtyard and Jadwin Hall, won an Award of Merit in the Architectural Design Award Program in 1966.
(1) “Fine Hall”. Princeton University, An Interactive Campus History 1746-1996. Princeton University. n.d. Web. 30 March, 2011.
(2) “Fine Hall”.
(3) “Academic Buildings of the 1960s: Science and Engineering”. Princeton University, An Interactive Campus History 1746-1996. Princeton University. n.d. Web. 30 March, 2011.
(4) “Academic Buildings of the 1960s: Science and Engineering”.
(5) “Academic Buildings of the 1960s: Science and Engineering”.
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