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Friend Center for Engineering Education, Princeton University

The Friend Center provides the spatial and functional framework to stimulate creative speculation, social interaction, and intellectual collaboration through a reinterpretation of the traditions of the academic quadrangle.

Situated across the street from the existing Engineering Quadrangle, the four-story facility connects at ground and lower levels with an existing computer science building on the north and projects west to house the engineering library in an independent two-story volume. Learning spaces throughout the center offer an array of formal and informal classroom configurations. The facility also includes a state-of-the-art computer atelier, a 250-seat lecture hall, and offices and classrooms for the engineering department.

Show Facts
Site

West of the existing Engineering Quadrangle at the intersection of William and Olden Streets

Components

70,000 ft2 / 7,000 m2 gross area; engineering library, computer atelier, lecture hall, offices, classrooms, extensive landscaping

Client

Princeton University Office of Physical Planning

PCF&P Services

Campus planning, architecture; exterior envelope; interior desig

Awards

Platinum Award for Engineering Excellence
New York Association of Consulting Engineers, 2002

A new campus green weaves the Friend Center into its setting, with circulation paths converging at the main entrance. Flowering plants and bosques of trees create a colorful buffer to the adjacent residential neighborhood.

Site plan

The Friend Center’s limestone base matches that of the neighboring computer science building and complements the one-story context. The library above is clad in low-E clear insulating glass, with customized horizontal wood blinds that control natural lighting by day and activate the surroundings with a soft glow at night.
Study carrels, reading rooms, and smaller classrooms are located within the library’s glass-enclosed upper levels to meet the needs of small group seminars, study group sessions, and individual research.
Project Credits

Structural: Leslie E. Roberston Associates, New York; Mechanical / Electrical: Cosentini Associates, New York; Audio / Visual: Acentech Audio Visual, Boston, MA; Landscape: Michael Vergason & Associates, Arlington, VA; Images: Taylorphoto.com, Pei Cobb Freed & Partners