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Orgs to develop design Bell Labs preservation.

The coalition of state and national organizations working to preserve the former Bell Labs site in Holmdel, N.J. announces a multidisciplinary Charrette during the weekend of April 11-13 to develop design approaches for the preservation and sympathetic and sustainable reuse of the internationally significant landmark.

The coalition, consisting of the NJ Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA-NJ), Preservation New Jersey (PNJ), the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Recent Past Preservation Network, The Cultural Landscape Foundation, NJ Conservation Foundation, DOCOMOMO-US (the acronym stands for the "documentation and conservation" of the "modern movement") and DOCOMOMO-NY/Tri-State Chapter is coordinating teams of design professionals and scholars who will assemble over a three-day period and work collaboratively to propose solutions to the Holmdel Bell Labs site's many challenges if it is to be adapted to a new use while protecting the landscape and open space on the site.

The Eero Saarinen-designed building and Sasaski-designed landscape at the Bell Labs site have been deemed eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. Seth Leeb, AIA, president of AIANJ, describes how "the Bell Labs complex conjures up deep feelings among all architects, as it the embodiment of the genius that was Eero Saarinen, a 20th century master. Bell Labs is as important to New Jersey and Technology as the Gateway Arch is to Saint Louis and Westward Expansion, and the TWA Terminal at JFK and Dulles Airport itself are to New York and Washington, DC and Aviation."

Shuttered in July 2007 and listed for sale, the site was named in Preservation New Jersey's 10 Most Endangered Historic Sites in NJ list in 2007, according to PNJ president John D.S. Hatch, AIA. Now significant innovative interdisciplinary design proposals are required if this landmark in the history of planning, architecture, landscape architecture and technology is to find new commercial uses that allow for its preservation.

The charrette will be held at the Holmdel Senior/ Community Center, 6 Crawford's Corner Rd, Holmdel, N J, and will be hosted by Citizens for Informed Land Use (CILU). Clinton J. Andrews, director of the Urban Planning and Policy Development Program, Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers University will facilitate the efforts of more than 25 professionals over the course of the three day charrette.

The public and press are invited to join charrette participants on Friday evening, April 11 at 7:30 p.m. at the Holmdel Senior/Community Center for a welcoming address by Pritzker prize winning architect Kevin Roche, who as principal design associate for Eero Saarinen was intimately involved in the design of the Bell Labs complex's three major construction campaigns. Also open to the public and press will be the presentation of the weekend's findings and proposals on Sunday morning, April 13 at 10:00 a.m., also at the Holmdel Senior/Community Center. For more information, contact Swathy Keshavamurthy, Preservation New Jersey, 609-392-6409.
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Comment:Orgs to develop design Bell Labs preservation.
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 9, 2008
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