Prospect Garden and Tap Rooms

Architect: Warren Platner

Date of Construction: 1852 building built by John Notman; 1968 dining room added

Materials: glass and concrete

Floors: 2

Use: dining room

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Beginning in 1879, Prospect House and Gardens originally was the private residence of the University’s president.(1) In 1904 Woodrow Wilson added an iron fence to enclose the garden to prevent students from walking over the garden.(2) In 1968, President Robert Francis Goheen moved the official residence of the president and a funds were donated privately for the construction of the Garden and Tap Rooms.(3)

The two-story addition faces south and is built of mainly glass and concrete with the two elements alternating with each other. The top of the addition is highlighted by a heavy concrete slab that overhangs the main structure by a few feet. The under part of the roof is decorated with coffers that extend into the building, the outer perimeter is open to allow sunlight in. The ground story is made of glass and wedged between two concrete slabs. The glass is attached to the concrete with steel adhesives and at the corners sheets of glass angle out perpendicular from the facade. There are four main concrete piers on the interior that support the roof, these are blocked from view from the outside by moveable wooden walls. The basement Tap Room is situated directly under the Garden Room. With less glass and access to natural light, the Tap Room highlights more wood and connects with the earth elements of the garden.

The addition respects the 1852 Italianate mansion by not overwhelming the overall design aesthetic. The concrete slabs keep the emphasis on the horizontality that the eaves of the existing roof lines had established. The glass and lightness of the addition help to reflect the garden while providing transparency that allows for a visually smooth transition between the distinct styles.

"Prospect Gardens, South View". Princeton University, Princeton, NJ. 1852 and 1968.*

(1) “Prospect House History”. Princeton University Services. Princeton University. n.d. Web. 27 April, 2011.

(2) “Prospect House History”.

(3) “Prospect House History”.

*Image taken from: “Fountain in the Garden of Prospect House”. 10 June, 2006. Web. 27 April, 2011.


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