Princeton’s new Butler College connects with a rich architectural tradition
The 288-bed new Butler College dormitory complex extends the long tradition of spaceshaping buildings at Princeton by creating two new courtyards and a major public walkway that together aims to enrich and strengthen the University’s rich array of pedestrian paths and vistas. The building is clad in varying coloured red brick, accented with both continuous and randomly placed bands of limestone, and further animated with wave-like undulations responding to the programmatic requirement for larger bedrooms at upper-level suites.
The complex has been carefully conceived in scale, material, and detail so as to offer the much-needed new dormitory space in an architectural form characterised by warmth, eventfulness, and informality aimed at creating a connective thread with the University’s rich Collegiate Gothic tradition. The above-grade program is comprised of a pair of two- to four-story wings consisting primarily of 'quad' suites accommodating four students with two bedrooms, a common living space, and an en-suite bathroom. Paired single bedrooms sharing a private bath, RA suites, and graduate student and visiting faculty apartments make up the remainder of the dormitory bed program.
Each dormitory floor features common areas, including kitchenettes, studies, and small lounges for private use by residents. At its lowest, primarily entry levels, the Butler Commons includes 'Studio ’34', a food emporium, with both indoor and outdoor dining options. The Commons also includes a public lounge and gallery spaces, and class and seminar rooms for use by both Butler College residents and the larger campus community. The east wing of the complex encloses the south-facing Memorial Courtyard. It features a design based on an amphitheater concept. The Courtyard includes a series of curved ramps that provide an ADA-accessible path connecting the primary campus circulation routes at grade with the lower level spaces of the Butler Commons.
Two additional lower level courtyards similarly provide both access and daylight to the Butler Commons. A primary campus roadway is located to the west. The open and park-like Butler Green separates the complex from the road and forms a generous 'front door' to the westfacing elevation of the complex. The complex also incorporates a number of sustainable design features. High efficiency low-E glazing allows natural light to illuminate the majority of the interior spaces. Similarly, an energy efficient valence heating and cooling system with individual user controls help maintain thermal comfort in the living areas, while low-flow plumbing fixtures reduce water consumption.
In addition, more than half the facility’s total roof area features environmentally friendly 'green roofs,' while a storm water cistern buried below the terraced Memorial Courtyard provides water for the necessary irrigation of the landscape materials located in the Courtyard.