The Historical Studies and Social Sciences Library (1965) at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ, is under serious threat. Designed by Wallace K. Harrison for J. Robert Oppenheimer, the building’s simple horizontal design belies its most distinctive feature: a complex roof in which Harrison experiments with combining structure, skylighting, air-conditioning and artificial light in a single overhead system. The roof requires repair. The Institute for Advanced Study’s solution was to commission the firm Kimmel Bogrette to add a new floor to the building by suspending new construction over the existing building. The proposed new construction would destroy the Library’s distinguished architectural features and fails to carry forward the level of design excellence that the Institute for Advanced Study has maintained in the past.
Docomomo US and DOCOMOMO US/New York Tri-State penned a joint response letter to the Institute’s directors on May 5, 2023.