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Steven Holl wins invited competition to design Rubenstein Commons

The new Rubenstein Commons will be a 20,000-sf structure at the center of the campus for the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J.

March 28, 2016 |

Courtesy Steven Holl Architects

Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge, but imagination.” The Institute for Advanced Study may have had this idea of Einstein’s (who worked at the IAS for over 20 years until the time of his death in 1955) in mind when looking for an architecture firm to design its new Rubenstein Commons. Ultimately, IAS decided the most imaginative and, therefore, intelligent design belonged to Steven Holl Architects and awarded the firm the project.

The new Rubenstein Commons, which is named after David Rubenstein, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of the Carlyle Group, is set to be an approximately 20,000-sf structure at the center of the IAS campus meant to encourage interactions among the institute’s diverse community of scholars.

The building will include social and meeting spaces with the purpose of promoting communication and collaboration and will also offer space to display images and materials that tell the story of the institute’s heritage, scholarly community, and current and future efforts.

As The New York Times reports, the building will have a patina copper roof and oak floors reminiscent of another building on the campus, Fuld Hall. This plays into the strategy the Director of the Institute, Robbert Dijkgraaf, laid out, saying the new building should be like “a family member with its own characteristics.”

In addition to blending in with other buildings already on the campus, the design will also blend in and “talk to” the surrounding landscape, as opposed to standing in contrast to it.

Along with Steven Holl Architects, MOS Architects, OMA, and Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects were also invited to submit proposals.

Other famous alumni of the Institute for Advanced Study include J. Robert Oppenheimer, Erwin Panofsky, and Hetty Goldman.


Fuld Hall


Aerial View of IAS Campus. Photo Credit: Hanno Rein, Wikimedia Commons

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