Princeton University Presents New Details About Future ‘Hobson College’

Part of Princeton University’s proposed new ‘Hobson College’,

Princeton University presented a full application for its newest undergraduate residential college, ‘Hobson College’, at a meeting of the Princeton Planning Board on January 19, 2023. The application adds further detail to a ‘concept plan’ presented by the University last year (See post: “First Look: Concept Plan For ‘Hobson College’ At Princeton University“).

The new Hobson College will replace the existing ‘First College’ (formerly known as ‘Wilson College’). It will be located on the other side of Elm Drive from Whitman College (map). The Hobson College design will greatly improve pedestrian and bicycle mobility around campus. An ‘East-West connector’ path runs through the site, which was a feature of the University’s 2026 campus master plan. Speaking to the Planning Board, University Architect Ron McCoy described the future Hobson College as a ‘crossroads of the campus’. The site plan makes it easy for people to pass through, or to linger and become drawn into the college community, for example at one of a number of improved green spaces.

Site map for future ‘Hobson College’ of Princeton University

As a replacement for First College, Hobson College will not bring an expansion in the University’s undergraduate body. During construction of Hobson College, students from First College will temporarily be housed in one of the University’s two newly-built residential colleges, situated south of Poe Field. The completed Hobson College is envisioned as a fully-connected community. Whereas the mid-twentieth century buildings that made up Wilson/First College were “disconnected and disparate”, every part of Hobson College will be fully interlinked. The new College will also be wheelchair accessible, and the cramped 8 1/2 foot ceilings of the old First College will be replaced by much more spacious facilities, with ceilings of 18 – 24 ft in common areas.

Rendering of new ‘Hobson College’, from Princeton University Planning Board presentation.

McCoy described how the new Hobson College design would fit with and emphasize campus architectural traditions. Noting that Princeton University campus features at least 29 distinct architectural styles, McCoy described how the roofscapes, punctuation, verticality, weight, articulation, and variety of the new Hobson College would make it a great fit. In particular, the choice of materials will include an earth-toned brick that will be reminiscent of the argilite stone used in nearby structures, such as Patton Hall (1906).

Materials to be used for Hobson College, shown against the background of an existing campus building.

The new Hobson College will also demonstrate a range of advanced ecological considerations, with the goal of achieving LEED Gold certification. McCoy explained that the University had considered the possibility of attaining an even higher standard of energy efficiency (the ‘Passivhaus’ standard) but had ruled it out because it would take a thousand years for the additional materials required to provide a carbon saving relative to LEED Gold. He also justified the replacement of the existing First College buildings, saying that they had very poor energy ratings, and could also not feasibly be reused to achieve the goal of a truly connected college community. Throughout the site, there will be improved plantings, and features to reduce stormwater run-off.

Environmental sustainability benefits of new Hobson College, via Princeton University presentation.

The Princeton Planning Board will continue consideration of the Hobson College site plan at their upcoming meeting this Thursday, February 16.

Related files:

This entry was posted in architecture, Placemaking, planning, Princeton, Sustainability and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Princeton University Presents New Details About Future ‘Hobson College’

  1. Stuart Drummond says:

    Great place to study. The new Hobson College is a great way to continue that good work.
    Many thanks regards

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