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Innovation & Design

New Neighborhood for University

Renzo Piano Building Workshop is designing a new 12-acre mixed-use neighborhood on Princeton University's campus in New Jersey. The site is located at University Place and Alexander Street, near one of the primary approaches to the school. Joost Moolhuijzen, a firm partner, who has headed work at the Art Institute of Chicago, is the project lead.

Tentative plans call for sustainable residential and academic buildings, with ground-level retail and commercial space as well as improved pedestrian and vehicle access and parking. The site could also house a new center for the creative and performing arts, along with a new central. Existing buildings, meanwhile, which include a bus and train depot, could undergo major upgrades.

"This is a place where the university and surrounding community connect, so it is a unique opportunity for us to think about neighborhood design," says Mark Burstein, Princeton's executive vice president.

Although budget and construction timelines have yet to be defined, school officials hope to finish a preliminary design by October. The scheme will then be submitted for community review, followed by local planning and permit approval. This could take six to 12 months.

The project is part of a larger campus makeover being led by Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners. Last May, the University hired Hopkins Architects of London to design its new chemistry building and surrounding natural sciences neighborhood. Piano, who just completed the Morgan Library addition in Manhattan, is also working on a new campus for Columbia University.

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