WRNS Studio reveals a sprawling new University Health Services Building at Princeton

Winging It

WRNS Studio reveals a sprawling new University Health Services Building at Princeton

The New York office of the bi-coastal WRNS Studio has pulled back the curtain on the latest addition to Princeton University, the new University Health Services Building (UHS) that will unite counseling, inpatient and urgent care, and preventative care under one roof (but three wings).

Once complete, the 74,700-square-foot UHS will include the 98-year-old Eno Hall, an existing laboratory building, while the addition will stretch southward in an L shape, with one of its new wings perpendicular to the hall and another parallel, connecting to the campus’s Guyot Lane and Goheen Walk for ground-level access to every section. Acting as the future heart and central bit of connective tissue for the UHS will be a three-story atrium fronted by a floor-to-ceiling glass curtain wall that will ultimately contain a reception lounge and access to the rest of the complex.

interior atrium view of the new University Health Services Building
Inside the atrium, which will connect the existing Eno Hall and a new addition to the south. Rather than demolish, the atrium will connect to the former brick exterior of Eno Hall and turn it into an interior wall. Similarly, the stone facade of the new addition will wrap inside as well. (Courtesy WRNS Studio)

“This project will provide a tremendous, thoughtfully designed resource to students, staff, and faculty at a time when health and wellness are understood as more essential than ever,” said Bryan Shiles, a founding partner at WRNS, in the project’s announcement.

The UHS will sit adjacent to several other vital campus facilities such as the dining hall, and according to WRNS, Princeton is exploring potential cross-programmatic opportunities between the new and extant facilities. The construction of a new health complex will allow the university to consolidate and expand its health offerings, including psychological services and counseling, a sexual harassment/assault advising, resources and education (SHARE) office, space for athletic medicine services, and preventative outreach. Each of the wings will hold a specific purpose, with one containing the administrative services and outreach and prevention components, another holding the SHARE office and counseling services, and the last focusing on the aforementioned urgent in- and outpatient care.

On the southwest side of the project site will sit a new standalone multipurpose room topped with a green roof and accessible via a sunken patio with plenty of outdoor seating for students and faculty. While the new portions of the UHS will feature a brick and stone facade with metal panels across the very top levels, the single-story standalone multipurpose space will large be composed of glass to allow for 360-degree views of the campus from within.

WRNS has also placed an emphasis on sustainability and is shooting for LEED Gold certification via the use of a high-performance envelope, a plan to divert construction waste and debris from landfills, efficient fixtures, effective daylighting to reduce energy usage, a geothermal heating and cooling system, on-site stormwater management, and the selection of sustainable materials. The new hall will also make use of a hybrid timber and steel structure, including, as the renderings show, cross-laminated timber floor slabs.

Of course, being an academic project, the UHS has been under consideration for quite some time; although WRNS only officially revealed its involvement in the project to the press on February 8, Princeton submitted plans for the new hall in July of 2021.