Tag Archives: Saarinen

Architects Tour Bell Labs

Bells Labs, Architecturally Significant Modernist Building in Holmdel, N.J.

Peter C. Papademetriou, an expert on Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen, who designed the Bell Labs building in Holmdel, N.J., delivers a presentation on Saarinen to architects in the atrium of the modernist landmark.

Peter C. Papademetriou, an expert on Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen, who designed the Bell Labs building in Holmdel, N.J., delivers a presentation on Saarinen to architects in the atrium of the modernist landmark.


HOLMDEL, N.J. (July 17, 2009) — Though most had seen photos of the Bell Labs building designed by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen — or even studied it in school — few of the architects who recently toured the shuttered building in Holmdel were prepared for the awe-inspiring scale and drama of the building, which is nearly a quarter mile long and once housed 7,500 employees, a small city unto itself.

The group of about 60 architects attended a tour sponsored by the Emerging Professionals program of the Newark and Suburban section of the New Jersey chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA-NJ). The tour included presentations by Saarinen expert Peter C. Papademetriou, and Ralph Zucker, president of Lakewood, N.J.-based Somerset Development, the contract purchaser for the building.

“It’s immense compared to what I thought it would be,” said self-confessed Saarinen fan Elizabeth Drake, AIA, principal of Elizabeth Drake Architect in Cedar Knolls, N.J.

The modernist landmark, which was completed in 1962 and expanded in 1966 and 1982, is considered the state’s most important example of post-World War II modernist architecture. It was closed in July 2006 and listed for sale by owner Alcatel-Lucent. The site was named to Preservation New Jersey’s list of the “10 Most Endangered Historic Sites in New Jersey” that same year.
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The Future of Eero Saarinen’s Bell Labs

Janaury 2009 -
AIA-NJ was the lead organizer and sponsor of a three day charrette to plan for the survival and adaptation of Bell Labs. The Bell Lab’s Charrette Report which documents the importance of Saarinen’s masterpiece, the charrette process and the collaborative efforts of architects, landscape architects, engineers, historians, planners, and interns is available: http://www.aia-nj.org/PDFs/news/bell_labs_final_report.pdf

NOTE:
Due to file size of report it may take longer to download on older machines -
PDF (4,399 KB)

Bell Labs More Flexible, More Adaptable

May 2008 -
A three-day brainstorming event of architects, landscape architects, preservationists, planners, historians, mechanical engineers, and sustainable consultants concluded on Sunday with innovative visions and exciting news that the nearly 2,000,000 square foot office building and research facility in Holmdel, originally built as Bell Laboratories on 472 acres, has immense capacity for rehabilitation and adaptation.

Sponsored by the American Institute of Architects’ New Jersey Chapter (AIA-NJ), Preservation New Jersey, the Docomomo-NY Tristate Chapter, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and billed as a Design Charrette, the event convened 38 design professionals from New Jersey, New York and the northeast to address the problems that surround the sustainable reuse and retention of the historically significant building and landscape designed by renowned architect Eero Saarinen and landscape architect Hideo Sasaki in the early 1960s. Continue reading

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