Princeton Public Library
A Community Agora for the New Millennium.
Princeton, NJ

Project Type

Designed in concert with the diverse community it serves, the 58,000-gross-square-foot Princeton Public Library has become, in the words of its Director, “a community agora for the new millennium.”

Community Inspired Design


The collaborative design process between architects and librarians and multiple community groups and organizations defined not only the functional requirements for the new building but also its values, themes and architectural expression. The success of the design process led to new construction projects that harmonize and repair the fabric of the downtown area and resulting in a marvelous new town square adjacent to the library.

Welcoming Spaces


At three stories, the building is monumental in scale and at the same time openly welcoming. A large glass “porch” and playful glass staircase create a lively “see and be seen” theatricality along the main Princeton street, while quiet spaces and reading nooks are secluded throughout the building. Materials are attractively “merchandised” through custom displays, lighting and graphics forming interior landscapes that invite browsing and inspire exploration for every level of user. Children are uniquely given “pride of place” on the third floor, including a tower room, story center and their own special outdoor garden terrace.


Sprinkled throughout the ”all wi-fi” building’s public spaces—including its large community room, café, two working fireplaces, technology center and a variety of meeting and lounging spaces—is breathtaking artwork commissioned especially for the building by world-class artists mostly from New Jersey.