Center of Theological Inquiry

Princeton, New Jersey

The renewed Center is designed for one great purpose: casting light on questions that matter

Princeton, New Jersey

Center of Theological Inquiry

Completion Date

32,000 SF

Project Type
Renovation, Scholars Study Center, Digital Media Center

Casting light through all three floors, a new skylit central atrium unites the experience of the building for scholars and visitors.

The Center of Theological Inquiry is an inter-disciplinary research center that encourages fresh thinking through theology’s dialogue with the sciences and humanities. Luce Hall, a 1984 neo-Georgian structure, no longer seemed fresh when CTI engaged us to renovate it. Casting light through all three floors, a new skylit central atrium unites the experience of the building for scholars and visitors. We re-organized each floor to tell the story of CTI’s new research cycle, from virtual collaboration and resident scholarship to public thinking.

Skylight view
The new interiors transform the building to tell the story of CTI’s research cycle of virtual, resident, and public inquiry​

Articulating CTI’s research cycle through the building

Digital studio room

CTI’s new research cycle starts with the virtual phase on the Global Floor where a Digital Studio gathers researchers around the world in a virtual study program prior to arriving in Princeton for their residencies. The resident phase takes place on the Research Floor where scholars have their own studies and also convene face-to-face in the central Colloquy Room. The third phase, public inquiry, happens in the new Garden Room on the Public Floor, where researchers discuss their projects with local and livestreamed audiences.

The story we tried to tell centers on the representation of discussion and debate. We placed the volume of the Colloquy Room, the actual and symbolic heart of the program, on the upper-level Research Floor, where it overlooks the new atrium and expresses its presence on the renovated facade. The bridge-like forms that support it speak to CTI’s intentions to span across disciplines to inform public thinking. The new façade also allows daylight into the lower level. The atrium serves as a lounge and pre-function space for the multi-purpose Garden Room used for exhibits and events.

Garden room

The activity at the heart of CTI’s mission is inquiry. To inquire means to ask the right questions and be open to discussion and debate

Michael Graves supported CTI’s communications and fundraising through graphic design. We created brochures and other print graphics and designed portions of the quarterly magazine. Our conversations with the Director about describing the renovation sparked new thinking about the story of the scholarly program.

Tom Rowe, AIA

Principal, Design Practice Leader
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Kathy Dy, AIA

Principal, Design Practice Leader
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