Honorable Mention - SCUP Excellence in Architecture for Building Additions, Renovation or Adaptive Reuse

Princeton University

Julis Romo Rabinowitz Building and Louis A. Simpson International Building
Princeton University - Julis Romo Rabinowitz Building and Louis A. Simpson International Building
Jury Comments
". . . I like the discussion of introverted and extroverted departments . . . the little glass roof that faces Washington Road is compelling . . . beautiful inside . . . I like the concept of the building being a microcosm of the campus . . ."


    • Site – 2.5 acres; Building – 197,000 sq ft
    • Heritage stone façades and arched entryways and original wood-paneled elements are preserved and integrated to lend warmth and character.
    • The glass rooftop pavilions, glass at corridor ends, skylights, clearstory windows, and a vitrine placed deep in the building’s interior all contribute to an immense amount of natural light and connection to the exterior.
    • High-efficiency mechanical/electrical systems and the insulation of the heritage masonry walls improve thermal performance.
    • 86% of the existing building was repurposed and new additions were set within the existing footprint.


Economics faculty were housed in six buildings across campus. The International Initiatives were also dispersed across campus. The development of the Economic and International Building brought together 15 units from 10 buildings across campus, facilitating collaboration as well as providing a single location supporting study, service, and internships abroad.

This project reinforces Princeton University’s commitment to evolving its physical campus through the preservation and adaptive reuse of its existing resources to continuously foster scholarly and collegial exchange. It involved the reimagination of a heritage landmark, the Frick Chemistry building (1929), and its later additions as an interdisciplinary research and learning hub for the Department of Economics and a series of international programs. A priority was to give each program its own identity within the whole. This was achieved by giving each department its own space and entrance.

To transform the monolithic Collegiate Gothic style building into an inviting destination and vibrant hub, the design was conceived as a microcosm of Princeton’s campus. The courtyards and quadrangles that characterize Princeton’s campus are reinterpreted in a series of light-filled atria and generous hallways that invite gathering and repose between study and research. This project took a historically significant building and transformed it for a new use. The structure’s interior was renovated extensively, while the historic character of the exterior of the building and of some primary interior spaces, such as the entry and the second-floor library, were preserved.

One of the greatest challenges was to build consensus between two very different stakeholder groups—the introverted Departments of Economics and the extroverted Institute for International and Regional Studies, and a total of fifteen units which had never worked together. To do this, three advisory committees were formed.

Project Team

KPMB Architects