Client: Princeton University
Location: Princeton, NJ, United States
Completion date: 2010
Hopkins Architects, London & Payette Associates, Boston
Six backlit, art glass walls for the Frick Chemistry Lab at Princeton University. The walls are located at the north and south ends of the central corridor of the office wing of the building, two on each of three floors. The installation consists of fused and kilnformed glass with a sawtooth relief.
The goal was to create six related installations that introduce color, warmth, and an individual identity to each of the three levels. The corridors, where the art glass walls are situated, are long and narrow and come to a dead stop at each end. The designs are suggestive of DNA mapping, exacting enough to work in a chemistry building, but inventive enough to allow the culture of the university to shine through. The end result: six related yet distinct installations that are jewel-like and reflect brilliantly on the adjoining glass walls of the corridors.
When Princeton University selected London-based Hopkins Architects and collaborating firm Payette Associates of Boston to design their new chemistry building, project leaders at the two firms were familiar with my work and felt it was a natural fit for the site. As with all my projects, we began with concept sketches exploring a number of designs and color palettes. The underlying program is based on pairs of secondary complementary colors. The client specified that each end of the corridor be distinctly different such that the art glass could serve also as a way-finding device. The tiles were fabricated at my studio while the lighting, preparation of the site, and installation of the tiles was a coordinated effort along with Payette, Turner Construction, Arup Lighting, and Port Morris Tile & Marble.
People have an emotional response to color and this project offered an opportunity to work with pure, intense, luscious color. It was a privilege to work on this project because of the location, scale, and prestige, not only of the client, but of the architects as well. The result is timeless work of art that is vibrant, exploratory, and intricate; all qualities that scientists hold in high regard.