Biography and History

The Office of Physical Planning was the division of Princeton University's Department of Facilities charged with oversight of the construction of new buildings on campus and alterations to existing structures. The primary responsibility of Physical Planning was the management of construction of major structures and alterations to existing structures on the Princeton campus. Physical Planning also arranged for interior design, furniture planning, and landscape design in and around campus buildings. Its other duties included providing long-range planning support for campus building projects, particularly in regards to land use and zoning considerations as well as the maintenance of campus graphics including building plans and maps.

The antecedent to the Office of Physical Planning can be found in the Grounds and Buildings Committee of the Trustees, established in 1876. At the time of its formation the committee appointed a single individual to act as the Curator of Grounds and Buildings, later known as the Superintendent of Grounds and Buildings. As the campus grew in size so too did the level of staffing required for its management and maintenance. In 1964 the title of the position was changed accordingly to Manager of the Division of Physical Planning, and once again in 1986 to Director of Physical Planning. These changes in title were often spurred by the frequent arrival of new personnel, and the most singularly consistent figure in the administration of the Office of Physical Planning was Jon D. Hlafter *61, who served as its director from 1969-2004.

The title of the larger administrative department of which the Office of Physical Planning was a part also changed frequently throughout the University's history. At various times it was known as Grounds and Buildings; Property and Physical Facilities; Physical Planning and Facilities; and Planning, Plant and Properties. Since 1983, the department has simply been known as the Department of Facilities. Headed by the University Vice-President for Facilities, the Department of Facilities and its subsidiary units are located in the MacMillan Building.

Jon Hlafter's acceptance of the position of University Architect in 2004 came amid a reorganization of the Department of Facilities which resulted in the end of the Office of Physical Planning as it had been known. The tasks that had been overseen by Physical Planning were distributed among several newly created Facilities divisions, with the Office of Design and Construction being most analogous to the old Physical Planning office.

Source: From the finding aid for AC154

Biography and History

The Office of Physical Planning is one of several branches that together comprise the University's Department of Facilities. Working in conjunction with the Office of the University Architect, the Office of Physical Planning coordinates and participates in architectural developments; manages construction of major new structures and alterations to existing structures; and oversees interior design and furniture planning. In February 2000 the Office of Physical Planning initiated a project to restore the 27 stained glass windows of the University chapel and some of the exterior sculptures. It was the largest stained glass restoration effort attempted in the United States in a quarter century and the first at the University Chapel since it was built in 1928. The stained glass restoration project was completed in December 2001, and was awarded a Historic Preservation Award by the New Jersey Historic Preservation Office.

Source: From the finding aid for AC231

  • Department of Facilities Records. 1803-2015 (inclusive), 1955-1981 (bulk).

    Call Number: AC041

    The Department of Facilities at Princeton University is responsible for the construction, maintenance, renovation, and financial management of the buildings and properties owned by the university. The Department of Facilities records document the daily activities of the department and its numerous divisions through blueprints, photographs, correspondence, memos, sketches, contracts, ledgers, tax returns, incorporation papers, by-laws, annual reports, financial statements, newspaper clippings, booklets, and meeting minutes.

  • Office of Physical Planning Records. 1869-1994 (inclusive), 1946-1994 (bulk).

    Call Number: AC154

    The Office of Physical Planning was the division of Princeton University's Department of Facilities charged with oversight of the construction of new buildings on campus and alterations to existing structures. The records consist of office files and architectural drawings in a variety of formats.

  • Office of Physical Planning Records. 1869-1994 (inclusive), 1946-1994 (bulk).

    Call Number: AC154

    The Office of Physical Planning was the division of Princeton University's Department of Facilities charged with oversight of the construction of new buildings on campus and alterations to existing structures. The records consist of office files and architectural drawings in a variety of formats.

  • University Chapel Stained Glass Windows Restoration records. 1999-2001 (inclusive).

    Call Number: AC231

    The Office of Physical Planning is one of several branches that together comprise the University's Department of Facilities. Consists of architectural surveys of the University Chapel with details of the window bays and the exterior facade, as well as photographs, slides, and microfilm documenting the work done on each window and sculpture during the 2000-2001 restoration, and day logs recording daily progress.