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    Frick Chemistry Laboratories, Princeton University


    A highly sustainable laboratory building to foster interdisciplinary research

    Location:Princeton, New Jersey, USA
    Size:22,296 m²
    Client:Princeton University
    Awards:RIBA International Award;
    Boston Society of Architects: Honor Award;
    SCUP Merit Award for Excellence in Architecture;
    AIA New Jersey: Honor Award;
    AIA Tri-State: Honor Award.

    Princeton University’s brief was for a new, world-class facility which would house its Chemistry Department, signal a reinvigorated Faculty and attract international talent. It also needed to be environmentally responsible in line with the University’s evolving sustainability strategy.

    Located within the University’s “Natural Sciences Neighbourhood” adjacent to Physics, Genomics and Molecular Biology buildings, the Frick Chemistry Laboratory provides 300,000sq ft of space including teaching, faculty research and office spaces, and helps foster interdisciplinary interaction, collaboration and creativity through shared and efficient use of facilities. The building is designed to act as an incubator for the next generation of ideas and discoveries - particularly appropriate because it was largely funded by the royalties obtained from the sale of the anti-cancer drug “Alimta”, discovered by one of the faculty members.

    We worked closely with laboratory planning experts to consider scale, environmental conditions and social engagement, arriving at a building which is future proofed, with a rigorous layout to support flexible adaptation of workspaces. Laboratories have been individually located within the building depending on the specific environmental conditions they require including tolerance to vibration levels.

    Designed to set a new standard in energy-efficient chemistry research buildings throughout the US, the

    project’s sustainable features include photovoltaic panels located above the glazed atrium roof which double up as a shading device, and a sustainable energy monitoring station in the atrium. An engineered facade system was manufactured offsite to maximise efficiency in installation and minimise construction waste. It includes 2,100 individual high-performance glass lites to allow significant daylight penetration and features automated shading devices and a highly-insulated design to lower active demand on mechanical systems.

    Externally, a 12,000-gallon rainwater collection cistern ties into a greywater system that collects and recycles stormwater.

    “This building is a dream come true, a long-awaited opportunity to transform this workplace, attract new talent and pursue the complex questions that lie at the intersection of the sciences more effectively than ever before.”

    Shirley M. Tilghman, President, Princeton University