The $330 million Princeton University Lewis Center for the Arts Complex is the result of a 10-year multi-phased planning and construction project designed to transform a fragmented corner of the campus into a lively and attractive gateway to Princeton Borough and Princeton University.
The project embodied several goals: expand academic opportunities for the arts at Princeton and create a synergy with the neighboring McCarter Theatre Center; enhance the experience of visitors, theater-goers and residents; and establish a beautiful and functional civic space.
The Lewis Arts Complex features three new buildings that house performing arts education and performances: the Wallace Dance Building and Theater, the Arts Tower, and the New Music building. It includes a public plaza, two restaurants in the renovated, historic Dinky train station buildings that were adapted consistent with the highest standards of historic renovation, a convenience store, a new roadway, transit and parking infrastructure that improves access to the area and mobility around the region.
The buildings are connected underground by an 8,000-square-foot open forum which serves as an indoor gathering space and lobby for the complex. The outdoor plaza, which features a reflecting pool with skylights that filter natural light into the forum below, serves as a gateway, connecting the local community to the university.
Underlying the success of the complex is the new infrastructure that surrounds it: the relocated, modern Princeton Station that consolidates bus and rail services in a bike- and pedestrian-friendly transit center, improved traffic circulation, and access to and from the campus’ West Garage.
The project has resulted in significant economic impacts, including new jobs – more than 2,400 during the construction, additional FTE positions at the complex, part-time faculty members, and new jobs at the related retail operations. Further, the university anticipates that at least 4,000 audience members will come to the complex annually, resulting in additional travel and tourism expenditures in the area.
Steven Holl Architects
New York, NY
Turner Construction Company
President and CEO
Chamber of Commerce
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