EYP was retained by Princeton University to renovate this 75,000 s.f., four-story historic residence hall. Built in 1896 by Cope and Stewardson Architects, Blair Hall was based on the Gothic English University modeled on Magdalen College in Cambridge. The exterior of the building is faced with a semi-coursed ashlar of local schist, embellished and protected with bush-hammered cut limestone copings, quoins, opening surrounds, belt courses, and finials. Limestone is more extensively used in the arches and ceilings of the main portals, and for the decorative carved panels, bosses, figures, and grotesques which adorn the two towers.
The first phase of the project, which was just completed, involved the preparation of a report to document the existing conditions, identify deficiencies in order to bring the building up to code, and provide base drawings for the programming and design of the renovations.
Exterior renovations identified included masonry repair, window repair and replacement, and repair of the slate roofs. Interior renovations included wood floor repair and replacement and signage replacement. An extensive part of this project included the replacement of current communal toilet facilities with new toilets located in each suite. This necessitated the removal of interior bearing and non-bearing walls, reconfiguring the present room layout to accommodate present day planning requirements for individual toilets, storage spaces and closets, while retaining the historic character of the building. In addition, bringing the building up to current building codes required alterations to stairs and exits.
Renovations to engineering systems included replacement of all mechanical systems, plumbing and fire protection systems, and upgrade of electrical systems.