Princeton University’s new childcare center for the children of faculty and staff is located adjacent to the main campus, in what is being redeveloped as the east campus precinct. The project included an intensive planning and programming phase to identify site location and boundaries, perform traffic analysis and infrastructure studies, establish sustainability goals and targets, identify site capacity and program expansion opportunities, coordinate with the larger campus precinct plan, and define the program. MTA worked closely with the childcare provider to identify emergent curriculum models and develop a program of spaces that support their pedagogical goals. In close collaboration with landscape architects from Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, the design concept integrates indoor and outdoor spaces as experiential parts of this emergent curriculum. Princeton University has very ambitious sustainability standards that benchmark all campus projects against LEED Silver, requiring all buildings to be designed to consume 50% less energy than code required, and manage all storm water on site. For this project the University has decided to stretch their goals further, aiming for certification as LEED Gold and Sustainable Sites.
The project serves 160 children from infants through five years and includes seventeen classroom spaces, a full service kitchen for meal preparation, multipurpose space, library, art room, and covered outdoor spaces.