Projects: Design Studio
Newark Station Visitors' Centre Concept
Newark, New Jersey
In 2009, the American Institute of Architects New Jersey chapter (AIA-NJ) commissioned a conceptual design competition to encourage the building of a local visitors' centre. SAHURI + Partners enthusiastically participated in this challenge and designed the Newark Station concept, a multi-purpose public facility that would contribute to a clear identity for the city.
The competition called for a 13,435 sf. green building design with multi-faceted uses that would fit into the surrounding community and reflect the city's diversity. Newark Station is perched along the riverfront greenbelt, and provides designated space for an information centre, auditorium, interactive displays, gallery space, a conference room, and a café and gift shop.
The Visitors' Centre concept is a transparent glass box that casually floats above the pedestrian-friendly site within a strong iron column grid, with movable faux-weathered steel mesh panels that serve as shading and signage on the exterior. This architecture pays homage to and is a metaphor of the industrial cranes of Newark's historic waterfront shipyards and iron foundries. The design redefines the ground plane as public space, with ground level serving as an active public plaza that promotes easy access and pedestrian flow to the waterfront. It serves as an urban landscape, landmark, and museum that changes with Newark's mood and activities.
The designated urban park area in the plaza accommodates market activity, community interaction, busking, skateboarding, concerts, municipal events, and public celebrations. Visitors gain access through the central three-story lobby that penetrates each level of the Centre, with water flowing over it into a plaza level pond. The facility also includes an innovative underground parkade and a rooftop garden featuring Newark's engaging cityscape views.
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