Princeton University in New Jersey has tapped architect David Adjaye to build the school a new art museum, which will take the place of the current one and sport “dramatically enlarged space for the exhibition and study of the museum’s encyclopedic collections, special exhibitions and art conservation, as well as object-study classrooms and office space for the 100-person museum staff,” according to a statement from the school.
It’s the latest big-league commission for the 51-year-old architect, whose widely acclaimed Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture opened in Washington, D.C. in 2016. He’s currently overseeing the design of the new home for the Studio Museum in Harlem and the Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art in Riga, among quite a number of other projects.
“The reimagined museum will be the cultural gateway between Princeton University, its students, faculty and the world, a place of mind-opening encounter with art and ideas ‘in the service of humanity,’ ” Adjaye said in a statement, quoting the school’s mission statement. “We are deeply honored to be part of the next chapter of its history.”
While a plan for the museum is still a long way off, the Princeton Alumni Weekly says that the tentative plan for the institution, which has one of the deepest collections of any university art museum in the United States, is to have it close at the end of 2020 for about three years. Parts of its holdings will potentially be shown elsewhere on campus during the time.
Adjaye has been involved in quite a few projects in the art realm in recent years, from the design for Marian Goodman’s London gallery, which opened in 2014, to the exhibition design for the central show at the 2015, which was organized by Okwui Enwezor.
Princeton’s hiring of Adjaye comes as a number of its Ivy League brethren have been working to supercharge their arts and museum infrastructure. A large-scale expansion of Harvard’s art museums, helmed by Renzo Piano, opened in 2014 in Cambridge, Massachusetts; Yale opened its expansion, by Duncan Hazard and Richard Olcott, in 2012; and last year, Columbia University inaugurated a new building for its art gallery in Manhattan, another Piano production. Meanwhile, an expansion of Dartmouth’s Hood Museum, designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, is scheduled to open in January.
“Sir David Adjaye is a renowned architect who has designed superb buildings for some of the world’s most admired cultural institutions,” Princeton’s president, Christopher L. Eisgruber, said in a statement to press, using the honorific that the architect received upon being knighted by Queen Elizabeth II last year.