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David Adjaye, the architect of the new Princeton University Art Museum. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Sir David Adjaye of Adjaye Associates was chosen as the design architect for the new University Art Museum, the University announced in a statement on Tuesday. Adjaye will collaborate with architects from Cooper Robertson, an award-winning firm based in New York City, on the project. 

The new museum will be located on the museum’s current site and will provide more space for the museum’s encyclopedic collections, special exhibitions, and object-study classrooms, as well as office space for museum staff. 

Erin Firestone, manager of marketing and public relations at the Art Museum, explained that the architect selection was made by a committee chaired by President Christopher Eisgruber ’83, which included broad University representation. University architect Ron McCoy GS ’80 and museum director James Steward led the selection process. 

“[Adjaye] is a very impressive architect that had a vision like none of the other candidates,” Firestone said. “His background and most recent projects were at a level of expertise and success that matched with the project.”

Adjaye described the significance of the project in the University’s statement.

“Defining a powerful center of cultural gravity at the heart of one of the greatest universities in the world, the new Princeton University Art Museum building will engage with its campus and vibrant communities through a new synthesis of art, learning and social opportunities,” Adjaye said.

His recent projects include designing the central pavilion and main exhibition spaces for the 56th Venice Art Biennale. In September of 2016, his largest project to date, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, opened on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The New York Times called the museum’s inauguration was called “the cultural event of the year.”

Adjaye was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2017. The same year, he was recognized as one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People. 

He also served a visiting professor at the University School of Architecture from 2008 to 2010. 

According to Firestone, the University Art Museum will close for construction in 2020 for three years. She explained that once a design is achieved, projections for the project deadlines will become clearer. 

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