Studio Ma - Princeton Lakeside Graduate Housing
  • Location: Princeton, New Jersey
  • Completed: Fall 2015
  • Building Area: 384,000 sf
  • Client: Princeton University

  • LEED 2009 V.2 Gold
  • 36 EUI

  • 2018 USGBC NJ 2018 LEED Project of the Year — Residential
  • 2017 AIA Western Mountain Region Design Excellence Merit Award
  • 2016 Brick in Architecture Gold Award

Princeton University required a new, purpose-built community for its growing population of graduate students. The university has set forth some of the most stringent carbon reduction policies among American institutions, and it was eager to leverage commercial development strategies to reduce costs.  They hired Studio Ma with national student housing developer American Campus Communities and a local builder to develop the new community.

After studying the relative costs of renovating existing graduate housing on site versus constructing new, resource-efficient buildings, Studio Ma recommended new construction, which provided a wider range of graduate housing that would be better suited to Princeton’s demographic diversity. It also reduced the complex’s energy and water usage dramatically. The Lakeside Graduate Community now has the lowest energy usage on campus.

I love the landscaping and the integration of the buildings with the land...every time I walk out of the elevator, I appreciate that I am still in the trees.

Princeton Lakeside Graduate Community Post-Occupancy Survey

Studio Ma reoriented new construction to address natural site drainage, which had been a chronic problem. This layout gave better views and restored site ecology while also enhancing Princeton’s park-like grounds and anticipating future development around Lake Carnegie. By simplifying and devising a clever materials vocabulary, the team designed within construction cost constraints well below what had been typical at Princeton, while endowing the Lakeside Graduate Community with dignity.

Its materials and articulation create a link between nearby Pei, Cobb, Freed undergraduate housing and the university’s signature Collegiate Gothic architecture. Unit types provide options for younger students who were recently undergraduates and prefer group housing, traditional roommate and couples seeking apartments, and townhouses for families. These are blended into the complex to create a sense of community and are complemented with indoor common areas and shared grounds.

Lakeside grapples with the age-old challenge of mass housing: how to personalize the impersonal, contextualize what risks being anonymous, and create a sense of community without sacrificing the individual’s experience.

Witold Rybczynski on Princeton Lakeside Graduate Housing