Though known as the Garden State, New Jersey’s identity is grounded more in its history of industry and manufacturing than in the celebration of its natural landscape. During the Industrial Revolution many of its cities transformed the basis of their economies from agriculture to production of goods including textiles, firearms, and locomotives. Throughout the states evolution, Newark has played a key role in the growth and sustenance of its economy. Bordered by the Passaic River and Newark Bay, it has been a major shipping hub for the region. Today the city’s identity continues to diversify with the rapid growth of it’s service industry. The charge of the competition was to design a visitor’s center on a 5 acre site in the Ironbound neighborhood along the Passaic River. Ironbound is an architecturally and ethnically diverse working class neighborhood with a history of industry and art. It is located in proximity to major components in the urban landscape including Pennsylvania Station to the east, and Harrison, a new commercial and entertainment development to the north. In addition to being a venue through which the city can share its history with visitors, we intended for the center to be a place where local crafts people and artists can develop and display their skills. To this end we introduced an artist’s workshop/laboratory and gallery. The required program includes a permanent display space, rotating gallery for installations, auditorium, cafe, gift shop, support and service spaces.
Status: Competition Entry
Location: Newark, NJ, US