A comprehensive master plan completed by Machado and Silvetti Associates in 1995 calls for a new elliptical space at the southern edge of Princeton University’s campus, defined by buildings to the north and an allée of trees on the south. Scully Hall is the keystone of the proposed massing complex of three buildings, and the first-phase implementation of the ellipse.
The building is a 267-bed dormitory formed along a double-loaded corridor, configured as a “J” in plan to optimize its site between a 1960s dormitory complex by Hugh Stubbins to the west and a 1980s laboratory by Venturi Scott Brown to its east. Completed in 1998, the dormitory’s mass defines three sides of a residential courtyard, while the fourth side is edged by a low wall and a tree-lined allée. Glass and aluminum pavilions housing the major public functions attach to the three courtyard edges.
To the north, the three-story volume defines and reinforces an important pedestrian pathway that connects the east and west campuses. Articulated as a more irregular volume, this portion of the building conforms to the existing historic fabric in scale and articulation. On the southern edge along the playing fields, Scully Hall presents a more contemporary and larger scaled four-story face. This face provides a memorable campus front and a dramatic backdrop for the events that will take place in the elliptical fields. At the façade’s center, a gateway functions as the primary threshold to the fields, flanked by a tower that terminates the pedestrian sequence from the north.