at princeton transit hall, the first public project by studio rick joy, a sharp, peaking roof finished in blackened steel defines an assemblage of long, slender volumes. the composition houses the waiting room of princeton station and expresses a tone that is at once vibrant and serene. on approach, the tall, slender columns that support the roof make the building feel at home in its surroundings. while the visual effect of the columns establish a link between the transit hall and the architecture of the campus, the ample and luminous feeling of the spaces, both inside and outside, offers a quiet grandeur that characterizes many buildings on the US college’s gothic campus.

rick joy princeton station
all images © jeff goldberg / ESTO



studio rick joy’s station at princeton university is organized along a simple plan. two volumes housing two different levels of activity flank a plaza where visitors can either pass through or linger. the use of blackened steel serves to visually connect these two volumes. in the waiting room volume, this steel element manifests in the form of a roof volume that plunges deeply inside, resting over a long space washed in warm natural sunlight. the decision to create a stand-alone waiting room was an intentional solution to the project brief, which called for programs of varying intensity, including a bathroom and a shop. by separating the waiting room, the architects generate a pristine space, free from visual and aural noise, for travelers to pause before boarding their train.

rick joy princeton station



black walnut benches in the waiting room, designed by woodworker george nakashima, and warm, white oak finishes frame the tall south-facing windows. to the exterior, the sandy concrete columns block harsh northern light and noise from the train tracks while establishing a dynamic rhythm that connects the structure to the adjacent L-shaped volume. here, smooth gray concrete combines with blackened steel piers that delineate a covered walkway and draw the eye upward toward a green roof. a lively yet rigorous paving pattern extends outward from the interior of the waiting room, into the central plaza, occupied by slender trees.

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project info:


project title: princeton university station and store

architecture: studio rick joy

location: princeton university, new jersey

lead designer: rick joy

senior associate: matt luck

project team: bach tran, natalia hayes, philipp neher, luat duong, shawn protz, heiman luk, and claudia kappl (lighting)

general contractor: turner construction company

photographer: © jeff goldberg / ESTO