Building on its commitment to science in service to humanity, Princeton University will expand research and teaching facilities for engineering and environmental science in an arc along Ivy Lane that connects to new facilities for computer science at Washington Road. The expansion will create a new campus neighborhood that more closely connects engineering with the rest of campus, including the natural and social sciences, the humanities, and public policy. The proximity of key collaborators also amplifies connections between the growing fields of bioengineering, data science, and environmental research and creates a center of gravity for convening diverse experts and innovators across and beyond the University to address critical societal needs.
“It is really designed around connectivity,” said University Architect Ronald McCoy.
The four initial buildings scheduled to open late in 2024 — environmental science, bioengineering, chemical and biological engineering, and an engineering commons — will be terraced into the hillside between Prospect Avenue and Ivy Lane currently occupied by faculty and staff housing and parking lots behind the eating clubs. Longer-term plans include a building for the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and then spaces for other engineering departments as well as programs central to the school’s mission.
The new buildings, all connected underground in one continuous sequence, will maintain distinct identities for disciplines while allowing for strong connections among them and carefully integrating into the University’s traditional architecture and landscaping.
“It’s about making community,” McCoy said. “We have created many social spaces, gathering spaces, whiteboard spaces, lobby spaces that bring people together.”
The neighborhood will include sunken courtyards and pathways and provide strong connections to nature and outdoor spaces. At the western end of the arc, across Washington Road, historic Guyot Hall will be rebuilt and substantially expanded to create a new home for computer science. The project, funded by a gift from Eric Schmidt ’76 and Wendy Schmidt, will consolidate computer science, which is currently spread over multiple buildings, as well as the Center for Information Technology Policy and the Center for Statistics and Machine Learning. The facility will be named Eric and Wendy Schmidt Hall and the Guyot name (from Arthur Guyot, Princeton’s first professor of geology and geography) will be recognized in new space associated with environmental science.
Together, the buildings set the stage as the School of Engineering and Applied Science moves into its second century of research and teaching, McCoy said.
“When we spoke to the faculty they were really clear: ‘We need better space and we need more of it.’ These are state-of-the-art, flexible, and highly functional teaching and research spaces, and they are sized to accommodate the growth of the school.”