The Architectural Laboratory sits on a site comprising approximately one acre of Princeton University owned property, is located south of the newly constructed Chemistry Building and within the Natural Sciences Neighborhood.
The original block section of the Architectural Laboratory was built by the Firestone family to be stables to house Polo Ponies while the two sons attended college at Princeton. Upon graduating, the building became a joint Architectural/Civil Engineering Laboratory. It was expanded on in the late ‘40’s / early ‘50’s by monies donated from Jean Labatut for the tectonic testing of structures and for large-scale mock-ups and fabrications, as well as the teaching of construction methods. Some of the most innovative minds in Architectural theory and practice, including Buckminster Fuller, Jean Labatut, Michael Graves, Peter Eisenman, Robert Venturi, and Steve Badanes have either passed through the Architectural Laboratory as students, instructors, or both.
The Architectural Laboratory is crucial to studying general model theory, current building systems, and technologies. The body of work done at the Architectural Laboratory in regards to building systems and construction helps support the testing and analysis of materials and structural models—work that helps develop a deeper understanding of the tectonic aspects of building. The faculty and students at the SoA utilize the Laboratory to expand the horizons of their work in design and construction.