Princeton Municipal Complex

Princeton, Texas
Progress with Purpose

Previously utilizing a small storefront for its administrative headquarters, the City of Princeton wanted a new civic center that would better welcome residents and unite all municipal departments under one roof. Our design pays homage to Princeton’s rich agricultural history into a contemporary aesthetic by looking to the future without forgetting the past, following the city’s vision to “progress with purpose”. A strong, highly visible presence, the new center strengthens an open-door relationship between residents and officials while creating a focal point for pride in the city’s identity.

The pond and surrounding terrain at the new site inspired the building’s L-shaped design. In response to the topography, the two-story structure stretches outwards rather than upwards, framing a new public plaza. What used to be an undeveloped gap between the community and the main highway for arrivals from the east is now a bright gateway to the city.

Clarity and Connection

Our design emphasizes transparency. Floor-to-ceiling glass exterior walls welcome guests with an easy transition into the building. Broad visibility speaks in physical and metaphorical terms to the city’s hope for accessible local officials. The glass connects people to nature, encourages use of the plaza, and fills the halls with natural light.

Our designers celebrated the city’s generations of farmers through materiality. The building comprises metal-clad volumes rising from a base of dark velour brick, a reference to the dark soil that gave the region’s Blackland Prairie its name. Weathered wood and exposed structural beams inside speak to the city’s historic barn life. These gestures honor Princeton’s evolving identities and keep history in conversation with the present.

An abundance of natural light adds a playful, dappled layer of shadow texture in motion to the interiors throughout the day. At night, a glow emanates from the council chambers, transforming the building into a beacon for the community.

The glass panels elegantly showcase the building’s floor plans while also featuring intricate cross-sections of the local Bois D’arc tree. This thoughtful design pays homage to Princeton’s rich history as a prominent lumber producer. In addition to telling a story of place and aiding wayfinding, these graphics allow some privacy for employees without obscuring them from view.

Princeton now has a placemaking statement. The building fosters a sense of belonging and gives the growing community a welcome reflection of its vitality.

Project Team

Ron Stelmarski
Robert Ting
John Strasius
Kevin Mereness
Kevin Mereness
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