PROGRAM: Lewis Center for the Arts, performance and teaching spaces for the Program in Theater and Dance, the Department of Music and the society of Fellows in the Creative and Performing Arts
CLIENT: Princeton University
    SIZE: 145,000 sq ft
STATUS: competition

The program for The Lewis Center for the Arts includes, a theatre and dance building, an arts building, and a music building with instrumental rehearsal and practice rooms. All three buildings are integrated in a forum below ground. The project aims to create a new campus gateway; shaping campus space while maximizing porosity and movement from all sides.

Overlook views into the dance and theatre practice spaces and the orchestral rehearsal space are aimed at provoking curiosity and interaction. As an open public invitation, this gateway space aims to connect the local community to the University.

Each of the three buildings’ interiors is developed uniquely.

The Wallace Theater and Dance Building is developed according to the idea of a “thing within a thing”. Within the overall concrete frame, the black-box theatre is comprised of steel, while the dance theatres are foamed aluminum, white washed wood and board formed concrete. A “dancing stair” connects all levels.

The Arts Building is developed with an embedded concept by its concrete and stone tower connecting to Princeton’s historic Blair Arch.

The Music Building is developed according to an idea of “suspension”. Above the large orchestral rehearsal room individual practice rooms are suspended on steel rods. Acoustically separate, these individual wooden chambers have a resonant quality.


  • architect
    • – Steven Holl Architects
    • Steven Holl ( design architect, principal )
    • Noah Yaffe ( partner in charge )
    • Christina Yessios ( project architect, associate )
    • Nathan Rich ( project architect )
    • Chris McVoy ( project team, senior partner )
    • JongSeo Lee ( project architect, senior associate )
    • Whitney Forward, Martin Kropac, Scott Fredricks, Alfonso Simelio, Arseni Timofejev, Michael Haddy, Yasmin Vobis, Zach Cohen, Jing Han, Laetitia Buchter, Ying Yi Cai, Gary He, Asami Takahashi, Ebbie Wisecarver, David Alan Ross (project team)
  • associate architects
    • – BNIM Architects
  • structural engineer
    • – Arup
  • MEP engineer
    • – Arup
  • landscape architect
    • – Michael Van Valkenburgh and Associates
  • theatrical systems consultant
    • – Auerbach Pollock Friedlander | Auerbach Glasow
  • facade consultant
    • – Front Inc.