Andlinger Center for Energy & the Environment

Architect: Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners

Owner: Princeton University

Location: Princeton, N.J.

Princeton University’s Andlinger Center for Energy & the Environment seeks to confront the world’s most pressing environmental issues, and this new building encourages interdisciplinary collaboration that supports new initiatives in energy resilience. Sitting on the northeast corner of Princeton’s campus, this project connects two existing buildings to form a more welcoming identity for the school’s engineering quadrangle.

The new center is bound on two sides by a masonry wall originally designed by McKim, Mead & White in 1911. Now covered in ivy, the wall spurred the concept of entering a garden, and the center interweaves a series of pathways, courtyards, and three three-story buildings into the landscape. The overall design allows the center to encompass a large and sensitive program while still respecting the existing campus vernacular.

Visitors enter through an opening in the vine-covered wall, which creates a distinct boundary that hints that something special awaits just beyond. On the other side, visitors encounter three gardens that connect to the center’s cluster of buildings that contain a conference center, offices, labs, a cleanroom, and an imaging center. Below grade, where more than half of the program is located, the buildings form a contiguous interconnected structure. This design choice avoided the creation of a series of imposing buildings while shielding the center from ambient vibrations that could disturb sensitive equipment.

The conference center anchors the center’s southwest corner and includes meeting rooms and an auditorium. Inside the auditorium, faceted planes define the space as light streams in through skylights and windows. The central building houses offices and research labs, and its lower level features a workspace for students and postdoctoral scholars with views of gardens at either end. The northernmost building contains cleanrooms suited for incredibly sensitive research and an analysis center.

Hand-molded gray brick adorns the center’s exterior, reflecting the university’s long tradition of masonry construction. Inside, felt tapestries enliven the space and depict abstracted images from the sketchbooks of renowned scientists, including Albert Einstein and Marie Curie.

Recognizing that no single discipline can address global energy problems, the center supports a variety of opportunities for people to connect. Its communal spaces are replete with whiteboards, moveable seating, and even sections for afternoon teas to prompt cross-disciplinary exchange. The walkways that wind through the gardens offer additional spaces to reflect and share ideas.

Additional information

Associate Architect - Ballinger

General Contractor - Sciame

Landscape Architect - Michael van Valkenburgh Associates

Engineer - Mechanical / Electrical / Security: ARUP

Engineer - Structural: Severud

Engineer - Civil Engineer: Van Note-Harvey and Judith Nitsch Associates

Engineer - EMF: VitaTech Engineering LLC

Engineer - Vibration & Acoustic: Frank Hubach Associates

Engineer - Stormwater Engineering: Nitsch Engineering

Engineer - Geotechnical Engineering: Geotech

Engineer - Traffic Engineering: BFJ Planning

Engineer - Blast: Integrated Engineering Services

Consultant - Lab Consultant: Jacobs Consultancy

Consultant - Cleanroom Consultant: Jacobs Engineering

Consultant - Sustainability: Transsolar

Consultant - Cost Estimating: Faithful & Gould

Consultant - Lighting: Fisher Marantz Stone

Consultant - Elevator: VDA

Consultant - Specifications: Conspectus

Consultant - Façade / Waterproofing: Israel Berger & Associates

Consultant - Support of Evacation: Langan

Consultant - AV: Shen Milsom & Wilke

Consultant - Graphics: Propp and Guerin

Consultant - Wind: CPP Wind Engineering

Hardware - Campbell – McCabe, Inc.

Sculpture - Ursula von Rydingsvard


Susan Blomquist, AIA, Chair, Payette, Boston

L. William Zahner, Zahner, Kansas City, Mo.

Ana Astiazaran, AIAS, University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz.

Dominique Hawkins, FAIA, Preservation Design Partnership, LLC, Philadelphia

Eddie Jones, FAIA, Jones Studio, Tempe, Ariz.

Gia Mainiero, AIA, Dattner Architects, New York

Pierre Roberson, AIA, AECOM, Detroit

Gail Kubik, Assoc. AIA, Finegold Alexander Architects, Salem, Mass.

Heather Young, AIA, Heather Young Architects, Palo Alto, Calif.

Image credits


Michael Moran


Michael Moran


Michael Moran


Michael Moran


Michael Moran