Rubenstein Commons, Institute for Advanced Study

Client Institute for Advanced Study
Architect Steven Holl Architects
Structural Engineer Guy Nordenson and Associates

Since its founding in 1930, the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) has provided the world’s most influential scientists and scholars with an environment for both intensive study and close collaboration. In line with this mission, the Rubenstein Commons will act as a new nexus on the Institute’s campus, where fellows and researchers across disciplines can meet, gather, and advance new ideas.

The new 17,000 square foot commons is designed to highlight the natural phenomena of the site itself, and its exposed concrete exterior, sweeping copper roof, and reflecting pools serve to engrain the structure in its surrounding wooded landscape. The building structure is composed of 26 precast concrete bearing walls—each with a unique geometry—which are positioned along the building’s enclosure, with the concrete surface exposed to view on the exterior. Prismatic glass panels fill the intervening spaces between the wall panels and above, a series of curved steel beam grooves are placed to span between the concrete walls, creating a scalloped roof surface which allows clerestory light to the interiors.