The award-winning integrated architecture and interiors studio Joshua Zinder Architecture + Design (JZA+D) has announced the completion of 101 Carnegie Center, a multi-phased redesign of the suburban office building’s shared amenities and overall aesthetic. The lobby, a prominent café, fitness center, and other public areas including restrooms have been updated to offer an economical alternative to locating in an urban center, especially for tenant firms looking to improve recruitment and retention among millennials in the workforce.
According to Joshua Zinder, AIA, JZA+D’s founding principal, 101 Carnegie Center was due for a refresh of its public face. “We’ve been very excited about repositioning 101 Carnegie Center,” says Zinder. “It’s an opportunity to showcase our approach to effective transformations of underperforming office properties. The redesign delivers a work setting that offers urban conveniences in a suburban location.”
Applying the firm’s signature ‘complete design’ approach, JZA+D’s improvements created a fresh, timeless sensibility while reinvigorating the property’s offerings of shared amenities. Approximately 20,000 square feet of 101 Carnegie’s shared spaces now enjoy lighter, brighter interiors, with visual connections throughout the lobby atrium established across multiple floors and into the lower-level cafe. This ‘activated’ social and professional environment encourages activity and interaction—Zinder refers to the effect as a “pocket of urbanity.”
Built in 1981 and located in an office park on the vibrant U.S. Route 1 corporate corridor about three miles from Princeton University, 101 Carnegie Center underwent phased renovations over two years. JZA+D, whose portfolio of office property repositioning work is considerable, designed the renovations for frequent client collaborator Boston Properties, Inc. A major developer of Class A office properties in U.S. markets from Boston to San Francisco, Boston Properties had already made significant improvements to other office buildings on the 560-acre campus, as well as to the grounds.
The Carnegie Center campus is known for its lush, manicured lawns and communal atmosphere, thanks in large part to Boston Properties’ management. JZA+D’s strategy leverages these existing attributes of the site to maximize the value of the 120,000-square-foot building at 101 Carnegie.
To renovate and energize the building’s four-story lobby atrium, Zinder’s team emphasized the height of the volume with vertical design elements and linear patterns, as well as light, bright finishes punctuated with cherry wood accents. The approach takes advantage of the plentiful natural daylight, energizing the space without overwhelming the eye. Elegant custom ornamental pendants and linear LED fixtures add focus and provide welcoming, comfortable illumination including in interior spaces without access to daylight.
JZA+D’s integrated strategy for the design supports companies facing a rapidly changing workforce. Those who prefer to work off-hours, or who may need to work long hours, will enjoy 101 Carnegie’s updated amenities. The lower-level café, for example, projects an activated social atmosphere that evokes a collegiate feel, with its visual connections to activity in the lobby above, its chic wood-accent motif, a seating area with art depicting iconic Princeton locales, and a Starbucks-affiliated coffee kiosk with extended operating hours.
The redesigned building is also intended to support occupants interested in a healthier lifestyle. The updated café offers health-conscious menu options, and most notably the café is adjacent to a state-of-the-art fitness center with full lockers and showers available to all building and campus occupants. JZA+D’s design for the fitness facility features frosted glass walls with etched images of runners, cyclists, and crew teams—a strategy that energizes the limited space while providing necessary privacy. Inside, the fitness room features top-of-the-line exercise equipment spaced generously under an exposed ceiling, separated from cycling and yoga studios by more frosted glass.
“Millennials and post-millennials will soon dominate the workforce, and Boston Properties is mindful of tenants’ need to appeal to those demographics to stay competitive,” says Zinder. “Since younger people approach their work-lives differently than previous generations, and they also tend to favor the experience of living in an urban setting.” 101 Carnegie Center has been redesigned with this in mind, notes Zinder: it provides an amenity-rich atmosphere and activated social environment, creating a “pocket of urbanity.” This is a vital component of a workplace for tenant firms competing for top talent.
Zinder adds, “The repositioning of 101 Carnegie Center obviously doesn't move it out of its suburban office park location, but does significantly increase its appeal as a work setting, allowing tenants to better compete for prospective employees against companies located ‘downtown.’”
Occupants of the refreshed 101 Carnegie Center also enjoys a few amenities that urban workplaces are unlikely to offer. For instance, the campus greenspace includes open-air cafes, jogging and walking paths, athletic facilities, gazebos, sculpture gardens, exotic plantings, ponds and an amphitheater. Carnegie Center also boasts hotels, a post office, a childcare facility and each building offers ample parking.