Princeton University announced today that it has selected Tod Williams BillieTsien Architects (TWBTA) to design the new Andlinger Center for Energy and Environment. The architects were chosen from a short list of three firms that included Foster and Partners and Raphael Vinoly Architects PC.
The center is to be a model of sustainability. It will house a 110,000 sq ft laboratory, primarily a clean room for nanofabrication, to support advanced research in energy efficiency and conservation and the development of sustainable energy sources. In addition to designing the new building, Williams and Tsein have been charged with transforming the neighborhood surrounding the building, known as the Engineering Quadrangle, which is loosely defined, isolated, and not well connected to Princeton’s main campus. It should be easy going for Williams and Tsein, which has mastered the art of fitting in not through replication but with bold modernist gestures that are sensitive to yet distinctive from their surroundings, both formally and in their materiality.
According to University Architect Ron McCoy, the key factors in the selection of Williams and Tsein were the firm’s ability to produce sustainable design, its experience and excellence in laboratory design; and the transformative nature of its architecture. “We need an architectural firm that can handle the complexities of the site”, said McCoy. “It’s an area of the campus that has not been brought into the feel of the Princeton campus”.
Commenting on the firm’s selection as architect for the project, Tod Williams said, “We are thrilled to have won this commission. For us it is a return to a campus where we had our first significant commission as a young architect. I took classes at the Engineering Quadrangle. So for me, it is a return to not only my alma mater, but to a particular part of the campus where I spent a lot of time.”
The project budget is $100 million. A schedule for the completion of design and construction has not been set.