Eric and Wendy Schmidt Hall Princeton University

“Eric and Wendy Schmidt Hall entails our core strengths of collaboration with a legacy institution, bringing new life to historic structures and creating collaborative space for interdisciplinary work.” – Fred Fisher

Eric and Wendy Schmidt Hall at Princeton University will be a hub for groundbreaking computational thinking that unlocks new frontiers of learning and discovers now-unimaginable solutions for improving the world.

Currently spread across 9 buildings on campus, the Computer Science Department’s current arrangement inhibits the intellectual collisions and vibrant exchanges that are the educational heartbeat at Princeton. Named for Eric and Wendy Schmidt, Princeton alum and software engineer Schmidt is the former CEO of Google and Executive Chairman of Alphabet.
Designed by FF&P and Shepley Bulfinch as Partner Architect, Schmidt Hall will include renovations to the historic Guyot Hall, a Gothic Revival science building constructed in 1909, as well as a contemporary addition made of mass timber and masonry (highlighted in red above). Princeton University selected Schmidt Hall as the new unified home for the Computer Science Department due to its central location, which positions it as an incubator for diverse collaborators and visitors.
Schmidt Hall is among the first generation of mass timber building on campus. In addition to providing a sensation of warmth and connection to nature, mass timber contributes to a significant embodied carbon reduction. With Princeton’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2046, the utilization of timber and cement replacement in the foundation contribute to an overall 30% embodied carbon reduction for the building.
FF&P’s design preserves Guyot Hall’s historic character by recapturing the original central hall and transforming it into the building’s public heart, called the Commons. Access to this signature space is facilitated through a new interior ramp from the north tower entry. Portals in the grand windows on the south facade promote circulation between the two structures and lead to a landscaped terrace.
Floor-to-ceiling windows maximize daylight and natural ventilation, creating a sense of interconnectedness between indoors and outdoors while integrating the building with the surrounding nature. A two-level verdant courtyard provides access to a secluded multipurpose outdoor space.
The new interiors incorporate a color palette inspired by the campus landscape and the historic materials of Guyot. Dark accents in metal, trim, and furnishings contrast with light-toned, subtle finishes that evoke a sense of time through layers of history and pentimento. Schmidt Hall’s loft-like spaces have been meticulously designed to include domestic touches that foster comfort and togetherness during focused computer work. The building’s flexible loft-like floors encourage collaboration, and facilitate serendipitous encounters, essential to intellectual life at Princeton.