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Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014

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Firm withdraws from planning stage of arts project

Renzo Piano Building Workshop, the Paris-based architectural firm that has been helping the University design an arts neighborhood near the intersection of University Place and Alexander Street, has asked to be allowed to withdraw from the planning stage of the project because it was concerned it no longer had the time to commit to the planning phase of the project given other commissions.

"Despite its enormous international distinction, RPBW remains a relatively small firm, and Renzo Piano himself takes a personal interest in every project," said Princeton's Executive Vice President Mark Burstein. "They have been exceedingly helpful in shaping our initial thinking about the arts neighborhood, and we are very grateful for the creativity and insight they have brought to the project. This project is complicated and will be time-consuming, not only as we seek to achieve multiple objectives, but as we work with the community to develop appropriate planning and zoning frameworks for the site. We respect the decision by RPBW that it would not be able to devote the requisite time to the planning phase of the project, and we are hopeful that they may re-engage when we are ready to begin designing buildings for the site."

Work on the design of the neighborhood will continue without interruption under the leadership of Beyer Blinder Belle, the architecture and planning firm that is leading the University's overall campus planning project. BBB has been working closely with RPBW on the arts neighborhood project from its inception.

"BBB has been fully engaged in planning for the arts neighborhood from the beginning, and we will be in very good hands as they now take on sole responsibility for managing the project," Burstein said. "We look forward to building on the work that already has been done and to conversations about this project that we will be having with our trustees and with the community over the coming months. Because of where it is and what it is aiming to accomplish, this is a high-priority project for the University and for the community."

The arts neighborhood and other elements of the University's campus planning project will be featured at an open forum on Wednesday, Nov. 8, to which all members of the campus and neighboring communities have been invited. The open house will take place in Chancellor Green on the Princeton campus between 3 and 7 p.m.

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