The Architecture of Princeton University

If you’ve ever explored the open campus of Princeton University, you may have found yourself in awe of the gloriously designed landscape that’s older than the United States itself. The architectural history is so vast and filled with such variety that it was once described as being “a beautiful sculpture garden for famous architects’ buildings”. Easily within walking distance from our front door, it seems only right to share some of what we know about these beautiful structures and the architects behind them.

Nassau Hall (1754-56)

Everywhere - nassau hall

          Fun Facts About the Building

  • Built 1754-56 by architect Robert Smith
  • Georgia Colonial style
  • Named after: King William III of the House of Nassau.
  • At the time, it was the largest stone structure in North America
  • It is the oldest building at Princeton University.
  • It was possessed by both American & British troops during the Revolutionary War.
  • It suffered from fires in 1802 and 1855.

    Fun Facts About the Architect
    Nassau Hall was the 3rd building he designed in the colonies.
  • Other important works include St. Peter’s Church, Benjamin Franklin’s House, Carpenter’s Hall, and Walnut Street Prison (all in Philadelphia).
  • During the revolutionary war, he produced designs for military architecture to protect Philadelphia from British attack.

President’s House/Maclean’s House
Everywhere - Palmer House

Fun Facts About the Building

  • Built 1754-56 by architect Robert Smith
  • Philadelphia Georgian Style
  • Named after John Maclean, Jr. – founder of the Alumni Association and the last president to occupy the house throughout his administration.
  • 10 University Presidents & 7 Deans lived here.

Prospect House
Prospect-House

Fun Facts About the Building

  • It was an 18th century home rebuilt 1850-52 by architect John Notman
  • Italianate style
  • Woodrow Wilson lived here before he became governor of NJ & President of the United States.
  • It was donated to the college in 1878.
  • Dignitaries such as Theodore Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and Truman have been entertained at the house.
  • It is one of the best preserved early Italianate villas in the country.

          Fun Facts About the Architect

  • Also known for NJ State Lunatic Asylum, Laurel Hill Cemetery Gatehouse, Athenaeum of Philadelphia, and the Church of the Holy Trinity.
  • Credited with introducing Italianate style to America.
  • He was a founding member of the American Institute of Architects.


Edwards Hall

Edwards Hall
Built: 1879-80
Architect: Edward D. Lindsey
Style: Romanesque

 

 

 

      Fun Facts About the Building       Fun Facts About the Architect
  • Named after Jonathon Edwards, the third president of the college.
  • Originally designed to provide cheap rooms for struggling students.
  • It is now among the most desirable addresses on campus since its renovation in 1985.
  • He was a professor of architecture and the Curator of Buildings and Grounds for the College.
  • Also known for the French Theater and Girard Building in New York.
  • One of his early interests was construction of fire-proof buildings.

FitzRandolph GateFitzRandolph Gate
Built: 1905
Architects: McKim, Meade, & White
Made from: Authentic wrought iron from England

 

 

 

 

       Fun Facts About the Structure      Fun Facts About the Architects
  • Named after Nathaniel FitzRandolph, who was instrumental in raising the money and land required to build the College.
  • It’s the official entrance to the College.
  • It was originally kept closed and locked, except at graduation, the P-Rade, or when a notable guest was visiting.
  • The Class of 1970 ensured the gate would always remain open as a symbol of the University’s openness to the local and worldwide community.
  • Also known for Pennsylvania Station, Brooklyn Museum, the main campus of Columbia University, and mansions in Newport, RI.
  • Their work has been said to define the Gilded Age of America.
  • They were invited to renovate the White House in 1903.
  • With a staff of over 100, the firm became the model for the modern architectural practice.

Firestone LibraryFirestone Library
Built: 1946-1948
Architect: O’Connor & Kilham
Style: Collegiate Gothic Revival

 

 

 

      Fun Facts About the Building       Fun Facts About the Architect
  • Named after tire magnate Harvey Firestone.
  • The library has 70 miles of bookshelves, more than 7 million books, 6 million microfilms, and 48,000 linear feet of manuscripts.
  • Most books are stored in partially underground levels.
  • It was the last building on campus to be built in the gothic style.
  • Also known for work on the Metropolitan Museum, Trinity College, and Smith College.
  • Their firm specialized in storage depots and barracks.
  • Robert O’Connor was a Princeton trained architect.
  • Walter Kilham spent over 3 years visiting libraries all around the world in preparation for the Firestone Library.

Leave a Comment





Accessibility