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Neuroscience & Psychology

Construction began in spring 2010 on the new Neuroscience and Psychology Buildings to be located south of Icahn Laboratory and west of Washington Road.

The buildings are being designed by José Rafael Moneo Vallés Arquitecto, the Madrid-based firm headed by award-winning architect José Rafael Moneo Vallés, who is known for integrating contemporary architecture into rich physical contexts. The firm is working on the project with Davis Brody Bond, a New York City firm with extensive science experience.


This image shows the east side of the Neuroscience and Psychology Buildings as they will look from Washington Road. The outer walls, composed of two "skins" of glass with a three-foot-wide airspace sandwiched between them, will have a luminous quality and will be energy-efficient.

The two-building complex will house the interdisciplinary Princeton Neuroscience Institute, which has been located in the Thomas and Moffett laboratories near the south end of campus since it was established in 2005, and the Department of Psychology, currently located farther north on Washington Road in Green Hall, which was built in 1927.

Construction on the new facility is expected to be completed three years from the start date.

The Princeton Neuroscience Institute draws most of its faculty members from the departments of molecular biology and psychology, and also attracts researchers from chemistry, computer science, ecology and evolutionary biology, electrical engineering, mathematics, mechanical and aerospace engineering, operations research and financial engineering, and physics. The institute -- with its interdisciplinary emphasis and theoretical and computational strengths -- takes a distinctively different approach to the study of neuroscience than most such programs.

The complex, which will encompass 248,000 gross square feet, will feature state-of-the-art research facilities, meeting rooms, faculty offices and instructional space. The contemporary structures have been sited to take advantage of the landscape, with two of the psychology building's five stories nestled into the ground on the north side emerging to ground level on the south side. The neuroscience portion of the complex, which is on the west portion of the site, will have two above-grade stories. There will be many areas of shared space between the two, especially on the A and B/C levels below grade throughout both buildings.


This rendering views the new complex on the right from Poe and Pardee fields. Icahn Laboratory is on the left.

The main entrance to the complex will be on its north side off a path leading from the Icahn Laboratory and from the Streicker Bridge, the pedestrian walkway over Washington Road that will open this fall when the new Chemistry Building opens across the street. The complex will be the southwest cornerstone of the University's "natural sciences neighborhood," which includes Fine, McDonnell, Jadwin and Peyton halls, Lewis Library and the new Chemistry Building on the east side of Washington Road, and Thomas, Schultz, Moffett and Icahn labs, and Eno and Guyot halls on the west side. The buildings' placement follows the ellipse around Poe and Pardee fields that begins with Bloomberg Hall near Elm Drive.

The design maximizes natural light, with interior skylight shafts that penetrate almost to the basement and external walls of opaque glass bisected by clear ribbons of "vision glass." The nonconnecting walls of the two structures will have a luminous quality. They will be composed of two "skins" of glass with a three-foot-wide airspace sandwiched between them. The outer skin is a ribbed "glass curtain" that serves as a sunscreen, and the inner skin is a smooth weather barrier of high-performance glass. The insulating space between them is open at each end to allow air to circulate.

Sustainability elements are a major focus of the architectural design, which is intended to meet the equivalent of the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver standards. Features will include the use of low volatile organic compound (VOC) materials and natural lighting wherever possible. Stormwater will be collected in a 12,000-gallon cistern for nonpotable use; the high-performance exterior and enhanced heat recovery for mechanical systems will reduce energy needs; and low-flow plumbing fixtures will help to conserve water.

More information is available in a news story.


Plan view rendering (click for larger view)