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DMR president watches a new New Jersey grow.

For generations now, New Jersey and the automobile have been inextricably linked in the public mind. Most all tri-state commuters have at one point experienced the bridge-and-tunnel crawl to 'the other side of the river,' where they are met by an inhospitable set of highways that crisscross industrial eyesores. Nationally, the highways of Jersey are known as settings for Springsteen songs and the backdrop for Tony's famous ride home during the opening credits of "The Sopranos."

While it is unfair to stereotype an entire state based on pop culture and an unfortunate few introductory miles of old factories and decay that then give way to the Garden State's lush greenery, the automobile has been king for some time in determining how space is designed in Jersey--home of suburban strip malls and multi-million dollar mansions tucked back off the road down gated driveways.

While development of this nature may have marked Jersey's past, according to Lloyd A. Rosenberg, it does not mark the future.

"We're moving away from the sprawl. People want to live in towns now, where they can walk to shops and restaurants and hop a train," Rosenberg said.

If anyone knows about such things, it is Rosenberg. As founder, president and CEO of Bergen County-based DMR Architects, he is currently overseeing more than 100 projects, the bulk of which are being developed in his native New Jersey. Since opening his firm 14 years ago, he's had a part in designing all manner of public and private spaces in virtually every corner of the state.

"We've enjoyed a mixed and varied type of client base," Rosenberg said of his success in New Jersey, where he's lived all of his life save time spent earning his degree as an architect at the University of Oklahoma in the mid-1960s. "You complete a project that looks good and meets [a clients] needs in terms of budget, other people hear about it and hire you on. I guess word travels."

Major projects for Rosenberg and his 40-employee firm include development of the 67-acre Woodridge Transit Village--which will feature 737 residences and 130,000 s/f of retail and commercial space--and interior design for a series of high-end athletic clubs.

It was not long ago when the idea of hiring an architect to design a weight room would have sounded absurd to a business owner. Today, it's standard practice.

Rosenberg said over his 30 years as an architect, he's seen both business owners and consumers become more aware of their design surroundings.

"The interest of the general public has changed. People are much more interested in design and how it changes the way they live and the way they work," he said. "Back in the 60s and 70s there was less focus on that. Design has become much more prevelant in our lives."

As for the future, Rosenberg said there will be plenty of work in New Jersey and beyond designing housing for the "active" elderly and rehabing blighted urban neighborhoods. In the end, he says seeing his firm positively impact a community makes his work worthwhile.

"We've been able to improve the quality of life here," he said, "That's exciting."
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Title Annotation:PROFILES IN CONSTRUCTION & DESIGN; DMR Architects's Lloyd A. Rosenberg
Author:Moran, Tim
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Geographic Code:1U2NJ
Date:Aug 16, 2006
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