The Princeton Planning Board will tonight consider a concept plan, submitted by Princeton University, for two new student residential colleges at the interesection of South Drive and Elm Drive. We have known for several years that Princeton University wants to build two new residential colleges. In early 2018, the University revealed that Deborah Berke Partners would be the lead architects for the project. This is the first time that members of the public have been able to see what they have designed so far.
One of the new colleges is likely to be called ‘Perelman College’, after a donation of $65 million from business executives Debra and Ronald Perelman. The colleges would share an 11.5 acre site, connected by paths to South Drive, Elm Drive and Poe Field. Currently, the site is used as a tennis facility. An overhead view in the concept plan shows a collection of buildings with irregular shapes:
According to the concept plan, the colleges are each intended to accommodate up to 500 students, 10 resident graduate students and one faculty-in-residence. The total area of each college would be 242,500 sq ft. The colleges would be mixed-use, providing both residences and “curricular and co-curricular spaces”. Each college would have a dining hall seating up to 290 students. The kitchen and loading dock would be shared between the two colleges, and vehicular access would be from South Drive. The tallest sections of the colleges are proposed to be seven stories, for a maximum of 93-ft, although overall the buildings would have varied height and massing:
You can read an overview of the Residential Colleges Concept Plan written by the architects here, and a memo discussing it written by the town’s planning staff here. Presumably the plan may yet change substantially, and the Concept Plan is not a formal planning application so many details about materials and sustainability features are unknown. We will report more about the plans after we hear tonight’s discussion at the Planning Board. (Note: images are low-quality because we literally photographed them from paper documents held at the Planning Department at Princeton City Hall.)
Hmm …. so Berke is offering up a design that is more reflective of a mid-town housing complex than a time-honored residential college for an Ivy League institution? Sad ….