Centra Metropark

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Centra Metropark | Notes of Interest

The core challenge of Centra was to evaluate an existing property that needed to be master planned for a one-million-square-foot development and decide what to do with its first building. This led to the development of a project that has a very strong sustainable mindset but also takes on the challenge of redefining the paradigm of the New Jersey office park experience.

Through a few strategic additions and subtractions, 30,000 square feet of leasable area was added, which nearly doubled the building’s presence. A 10,000-square-foot addition, floated from the fourth floor, mirrors the existing building’s L-shaped plan, incorporates a new state-of-the-art curtain wall, and upgrades the building’s infrastructure. The addition transformed this 1980s eyesore and opened its potential for future growth.

The project demonstrates a user-friendly approach by avoiding the common practice of siting blocks of buildings in vast seas of parking devoid of landscape. Minimizing movement from car to building allows one to embrace an urban/suburban campus aesthetic. Landscaped promenades, urban rooms, and closely spaced architecture create a strong community and sense of place. Together, the landscape and building form encourage social interaction and provide a healthier, more sustainable environment. Architecture and art play essential roles in shaping spaces and in focusing views and movement.

Situated in the heart of New Jersey, 40 minutes from downtown New York City and 20 minutes from Newark, the site occupies a strategic location between the Garden State Parkway, Amtrak’s northeast corridor, and New Jersey Transit’s commuter rail. A five-minute walk from the train station, the project can be seen clearly at the end of the street axis as the road bends away.

Additional Credit

  • Contractor: Tishman Construction
  • Engineer - MEP and FP: AMA Consulting Engineers
  • Engineer - Structural: DeSimone Consulting Engineers
  • Landscape Architect: Towers Golde
  • Lighting Design: S+S Lighting Design

Photo Credit

    © Michael Moran/OTTO

Centra Metropark

  • Architect: Kohn Pedersen Fox
  • Owner: Hampshire Real Estate Companies
  • Location: Iselin, New Jersey

Jury Comments

While the context is less than desirable, the impact that this building has on the parkway has resulted in improvements of neighboring structures, proving that design can have a ripple effect in an otherwise mundane context.

The central exterior column supporting the massive truss level is built with precision and craftsmanship, allowing for maximum expansion while creating a covered welcoming piazza.

This project is an excellent example of the value of creatively reusing existing buildings and their embodied energy in lieu of tearing down and building new.

This creative adaptive reuse strategy is applicable to suburban sites around the United States.

More about Centra Metropark.

2013 Institute Honor Awards for Architecture Jury

  • Mary Katherine Lanzillotta, FAIA (Chair)
  • Hartman-Cox Architects, Washington, DC
  • Brian Fitzsimmons, AIA
  • Fitzsimmons Architects, Oklahoma City
  • John Kane, FAIA
  • Architekton, Tempe, Arizona
  • William Leddy, FAIA
  • Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects, San Francisco
  • Philip Loheed, AIA
  • BTA Architects, Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Robert Maschke, AIA
  • robert maschke ARCHITECTS inc., Cleveland
  • Douglas L. Milburn, Assoc. AIA
  • Isaksen Glerum Wachter LLC, Urbana, Illinois
  • Becky Joyce Yannes, AIAS Representative
  • Drexel University, Philadelphia

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