• Client:Princeton University
  • Location:Princeton, NJ
  • Architect:EYP Architects

Hamilton, Madison and Holder Halls and Holder Tower Renovations

The Holder Hall dormitory was built in the northwest corner of Princeton’s campus between 1909 and 1910; the Tower was completed in 1911. Hamilton Hall, a smaller dormitory, was completed in 1913 and connected to the Holder courtyard by an archway through a stone cloister. To provide dining facilities for these two historic buildings, Madison Hall was built in 1917. Over a span of three years, Irwin & Leighton renovated all three buildings and the Tower in overlapping phases, one phase for each building and a fourth for the Tower restoration.

The scope for the complete interior renovation of Holder Hall involved lowering the basement elevation to accommodate new common spaces and offices, all new windows, new mechanical, electrical and fire protection services as well as selective reroofing and exterior restoration.

The restoration of Holder Memorial Tower, that reaches ± 200 feet above Nassau Street in busy downtown Princeton, required extensive logistical planning to develop a safe and effective scaffolding scheme.

The scope of the Hamilton Hall project included renovating, to a very high level of quality, Mathey Library, a theater, classroom and computer laboratory as well as creating administrative and housing spaces. Irwin & Leighton’s work included complete interior demolition, structural work, replacement of leaded glass windows, new systems and new finishes throughout. An extensive amount of millwork was involved.

The final phase was the fifteen-month, four-part renovation of Madison Hall’s food service, dining halls, student lounges and activity areas. The scope included upgrading and restoring two major dining halls with extensive millwork, lighting, etc. in addition to the complete renovation of bakery, kitchen, servery and administrative areas.

The complex scope of this project involved substantial coordinated effort particularly between the project’s Architect, Einhorn Yaffee Prescott, and Irwin & Leighton in order to resolve many interface requirements, coordinate specific tasks and contain the project budget while maintaining Princeton University’s standards.

Key Highlights

Removal and replacement of existing steel casement windows

Matching of existing profiles for the steel frames

Removal and replacement of existing schist panels at the historic 10-story tower; required matching of the profiles of the existing panels

Maintained existing systems in occupied areas while installing new mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection systems. Coordinated with existing structure and clearance issues. Involved large amount of chasing of existing plaster and brick walls for utilities.

Removal, analysis of existing mortar and multiple mock ups to match

24-hour mist cleaning of carbon staining from limestone to prevent damage or marks

Our Sector Knowledge


Irwin & Leighton has over 100 years of experience in the Educational sector managing projects on all areas of an academic campus.