- Project updates and photos from Facilities
- News: Even under construction, Andlinger lab teaches (June 11, 2014)
- News: Sky for a ceiling: Andlinger Lab design reflects science in service of the planet (March 9, 2012)
- News: Andlinger plans blend technical, aesthetic goals for new energy research hub (May 12, 2010)
- News: Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects selected to design new Andlinger Center (Feb. 11, 2009)
- News: International business leader Gerhard R. Andlinger makes $100 million gift to transform energy and environment research at Princeton (July 1, 2008)
Plans for Princeton's Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment include laboratory, classroom and garden spaces that support the mission of the center while creating an inviting new presence at the eastern edge of campus.
The design provides for specialized facilities for research related to sustainable energy use and production. With a network of gardens and connections to existing buildings, the new spaces are designed to enhance the engineering neighborhood while meeting high standards for sustainable construction.
The plans, developed by the architectural firm of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects of New York, call for 127,000 square feet of new construction, as well as a number of smaller renovation projects. The project is expected to be finished in 2015.
Completion of the overall plan marks an important juncture for the Andlinger Center, which was created in 2008 thanks to a $100 million gift from international business leader Gerhard Andlinger, a member of Princeton's class of 1952.
The gardens give the site a "porosity" or openness that invites people to enter, meet and collaborate, said Ron McCoy, University architect. "Within the building you'll always be moving from garden to garden, from light to light," McCoy said.
Going beyond technical considerations is part of the University's vision for the Andlinger Center, said H. Vincent Poor, dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science.
"Engineering in general and energy research in particular stand at the intersection of many disciplines," Poor said. "They address problems that have technological components, but also elements of pure science, the complexities of human nature, public policy and economic opportunity. This design is exciting because it will promote progress at all levels."
The plan builds on the findings of a steering committee of faculty members who worked with the New York-based architecture firm of Davis Brody Bond Aedas to develop a program study detailing the needs and space requirements for the project. The overall location of the Andlinger Center and the role of campus neighborhoods, such as arts, sciences and engineering, are described in the University's 2006-2016 Campus Plan, which was completed in 2008.
The Andlinger design calls for a set of three interconnected buildings — the exteriors of which will be mostly masonry brick and glass — that meet a range of needs, from highly specialized labs to classroom and meeting spaces. The lab with the most demanding technical requirements will be located next to the Engineering Quadrangle's A Wing. That building will include laboratories where the amount of airborne dust is reduced 1,000-fold, a requirement for much nanotechnology research.
It also will contain imaging labs for examining materials at the atomic level. Microscopes operating at that scale require an ultra-low vibration environment, because even the smallest rumble from the street would shake objects so much they could not be properly observed. To achieve such low vibration, those labs must be built directly on top of bedrock, which means placing those facilities below the natural grade level.
This aspect of the design presented a challenge in making these lower level spaces appealing, said Pablo Debenedetti, formerly vice dean of engineering and chair of the Andlinger steering committee, and now the dean for research.
"Tod and Billie have come up with a really beautiful solution," Debenedetti said. Instead of being fully underground, the lower level spaces will open to gardens. "They are bringing natural light and a contemplative, peaceful feeling to the place."
Next to the laboratory building, a second main building will provide office and other research space. It will connect to the EQuad's E Wing, as well as to Bowen Hall, the current focus of materials science research.
The third structure will be a lecture hall at the intersection of Olden Street and Prospect Avenue. Construction of that portion of the project required demolition of the former Osborn Clubhouse at 86 Olden St., former home of the Fields Center. The Ferris Thompson Gateway on Prospect and the brick wall along the corner of Olden and Prospect will be preserved.
Located on the corner and facing the center of campus, the planned lecture hall presents an important outward-looking face for the Andlinger Center, Debenedetti said. Classes, talks and conferences will help connect the technical work of the center with other disciplines, while the space itself will draw people into a part of campus that has not been used as effectively as other areas.