Princeton University Firestone Library Renovation

Our renovation of Princeton’s Firestone Library preserves the building’s heritage while transforming its function. Built in 1948, the Gothic Revival building is the university’s heart. Its original design married tradition and innovation, the exterior resonating with the ornate Ralph Adams Cram designed chapel nearby while the interior featured spacious, loft-like rooms.
Our approach, realized in collaboration with the firm Shepley Bulfinch, combines the library’s longtime hybrid identity with a flexibility that meets 21st century needs and honors the university’s emphasis on teaching and research.
New group collaboration areas and reading rooms throughout the library invite serendipitous interactions, while study carrels provide space for focused research. On the third floor, the large new reading room features expansive arched windows that look out over the chapel next door. Belgian artist John Nava integrated text and images from the library’s special collections to make the specially-commissioned wall-sized tapestry that hangs there, an artwork with, in Frederick Fisher’s words, “the ‘DNA’ of Firestone Library literally woven into it.”