Institute for Advanced Studies

Institute for Advanced Studies

Princeton, NJ

CLIENT Institute for Advanced Study / SIZE 15,000 Sq ft. / STATUS Completed 1996 / DESIGN TEAM Balmori Associates, Inc. / Van Zelm, Spiegel & Zamecnik, Inc. / Geotech; Melick-Tully & Associates , Inc. 

A spare quadrangle enclosed by cherry trees sits at the campus’ eastern edge; a vista towards the woods stretches out on one side of a vast open lawn. A traditional slate blackboard, a surface from within the buildings, is now a built outdoor element, to be written on and erased by the mathematicians passing through the courtyard.

Several feet away, two copper-clad slabs sit perpendicular to each other, forming a corner. Water streams continually down their surfaces and leaves a lasting mark visible in the winter when the water is turned off. These minimal components, with changing markings, are a modern reworking of the traditional elements of fountain and wall.

The courtyard is organized to provide access to the two buildings while maintaining an expansive central area where outdoor recitals may be held or individuals can sit under the cherry trees that define the edges of the courtyard.