Princeton, United States of America 2020



PROGRAM: meeting rooms, an indoor/outdoor café, living room, gallery of campus historyand several offices.
CLIENT: Institute for Advanced Study
    SIZE: 17,175 sf
STATUS: construction

The Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) in Princeton, established in 1930, will build a new commons building on their historic campus near its original 1939 building, Fuld Hall, where Albert Einstein spent his last thinking years.

The building forms an intertwining through the landscape, connecting with pools of water on the North, South, East and West. The pools (which also contain underwater photovoltaics) reflect sunlight into interior spaces producing an atmosphere of reflection. Natural phenomena are intertwined with science, physics, humanities, and art –corresponding with the Institute’s mission. Prismatic glass above 7’ breaks white light into the color spectrum, energizing the interior with natural phenomena.

The landscape around the pools measures the time of a year’s passing through the four seasons. Near the East pool spring is marked via pink blooming magnolias. Summer is marked along the South pools with birch trees. Autumn is marked with golden leaves of Ginkgo trees on the West and at the moss gardens around the North pools are pine trees for Winter.

The geometry of the spaces is formed by “space curves” where two non-planar curves intersect. The director of the I.A.S., remarked that the curved ceilings give space for “thought bubbles” of the scholars.

The Rubenstein Commons will support community and academic life on the IAS campus, promoting communication and collaboration through a variety of social and meeting spaces. Providing a communal and flexible gathering place for the Institute’s research community, the building will offer a space for the display of images and materials that tell the story of the Institute’s heritage, extraordinary scholarly community, as well as current and future efforts.


  • architect
    • – Steven Holl Architects
    • Steven Holl ( design architect, principal )
    • Noah Yaffe ( partner in charge )
    • Christina Yessios ( project architect, associate )
    • Yun Shi ( assistant project architect )
    • Xi Chen ( competition team )
    • Carolina Cohen Freue ( competition team )
    • Michael Haddy ( competition team )
    • Elise Riley ( competition team )
    • Marcus Carter, Alessandra Catherine Calaguire, Magdalena NAydekova (project team)