South Orange Public Library

The Village of South Orange engaged H3 to renovate its existing library and create a dynamic, accessible library with ample public spaces. The project is a cost-effective plan that addresses deficits in functionality and building standards by rehabilitating the existing 9,300 sq.ft. Connett building, which has been leased to non-public organizations for the past 30 years. Construction of a two-story, green-roofed Connector between the Connett and the existing 1968 Library Building will increase the Library’s overall square footage by 45% and will create a 21st century library that will serve the community’s diverse, growing, and evolving needs for generations.

The new Connector resolves accessibility issues through the use of a common entrance and circulation core. The Connector will give the community a true sense of place as they enter and provide direct access to all parts of the library. This brick and glass walled link will lead into both buildings; and will have a stair-case, elevator and new ADA restrooms. Here library staff will provide greeting and assistance amid new, interesting, interactive display spaces. This area provides a multi-generational café space, envisioned as a casual meeting area with the flexibility to be adapted into a maker space. The multi-generation café and the adjacent group study rooms are located so that they can accommodate after-hour community use.

The Connett Building is in sound condition but in need of prioritized steps towards rehabilitation, beginning with the exterior. Building systems need a complete overhaul to comply with modern code and safety issues. The original reading rooms on the first floor will be restored to match the level of the Village’s most beautiful and historic

Harrison Public Library

H3 was hired in 2012 by the Harrison Public Library Trustees to engage in a programming and planning study to determine the need for a library expansion, renovation or both. The Trustees realized that the library’s traditional layout and physical condition was outdated and no longer supported the activities and programming goals. Having recently hired a new Director with roots in the NYPL system, the Trustees were eager to design an active community center appropriate for a contemporary library.

Located within the town’s park, the location of the library was ideal, but the existing entrance lacked the presence of a major civic institution. Through analysis and surveys, H3 determined that a re-invigorated Harrison Public Library could best be achieved through minor exterior additions, including a new monumental entry, and major interior re-structuring that would incorporate new programs that had long been desired.

Completed in 2015, the design creates a monumental light filled entry patching together the previous additions into a unified vestibule with donor signage and a waiting area. Once inside patrons are welcomed into the lobby with a centrally located circulation area and information wall. An East-West corridor connects each of the designated programming zones with clearly defined entrances and signage for the Children’s and Teen’s areas. For children, active learning environments include both analog and digital technology to encourage play with an expanded puppet theater and gathering area for group activities. The Children area theme “Garden in the Park” is further emphasized with branch like light fixtures in the clerestory with birds and tree decor on the surrounding walls. The teen area includes both a study area and lounge with bleacher seating with integrated technology for films and gaming. The Adult area occupies the light filled South and East portions of the building that was previously used as offices with new seating areas located at the exterior windows. Community spaces include a community room equipped with new technology for lectures, films, performances and broadcasting, a new learning center and flexible group study spaces. Staff is primarily roaming, with ergonomic seating strategically located in each of the zones to create accessible reference stations.

CLIENT: Town Village of Harrison
SIZE: 15,700 Square Feet
COST: $3 Million

US Federal Courthouse Jackson MS

The new Federal Courthouse in Jackson, Mississippi brings together nineteen federal agencies in a clearly organized, secure, and modern facility. The design arranges courtrooms, offices, and public spaces around a public, open-air rotunda in offset volumes that respond to the adjacent stream bed of Town Creek. Set on axis with the State Capitol’s Beaux-Arts profile seven blocks to the north, the courthouse’s wings surround the open-air rotunda with a curving enclosure that echoes the capitol’s prominent dome. The courthouse provides a modern counterpoint to the treasured historic public building.

The building’s twelve courtrooms are wrapped in curving walls, daylit by clerestory windows, and revealed to the exterior in extruded glass boxes. The curved shape of the courtrooms is a bold variation inspired by H3’s theater design experience. The shape of the room emphasizes the importance of the jury’s role in court proceedings and ensures that their sightlines and acoustics are clear. The courtrooms include electrical evidence delivery to each juror, two audience monitors, lawyer kiosks with screens, raised floors for flexibility, and adjustable lighting. Virtual reality simulation, conducted at Disney Imagineering’s Virtual Reality Studio, and acoustic mockups were reviewed with the judges to ensure the courtrooms’ optimum function.

The interior spaces are protected from intense direct sunlight by features that reference Jackson’s residential vernacular: variegated sawtooth details on precast façade panels and horizontal glass frit patterns emulate wooden shutters and cast changing patterns of light and shadow as the day progresses. These and other features will help earn the project an anticipated LEED-NC Silver Rating.

CLIENT: US General Services Administration
SIZE: 454,426 square feet
COST: $120 million

Pier A

Perched on the southern tip of Lower Manhattan, overlooking the Hudson River, Pier A is the oldest functioning pier in New York City. Built in 1886 to serve the Department of Docks and Harbor Police, it provided a key vantage point from which to oversee, organize and control the development along shoreline and the chaotic traffic in the harbor.

Today, Pier A is owned by New York City and surrounded by the Battery Park City development and historic Battery Park. The adaptive reuse of this underutilized historic landmark presents a significant opportunity to promote economic growth and enhancing tourism in the area.

The first step in revitalizing the historic Pier was to stabilize the advancing deterioration of the building, which had been left abandoned since the 1970s. The team then determined appropriate guidelines for the restoration of the building to preserve its character while enabling the attraction and accommodation of modern commercial tenants.

The restoration process has had sustainable design goals at its core, and the project expects a minimum of LEED Silver certification. The team salvaged as many free-standing historical elements as possible for reuse, including wood stair railings, iron structural brackets, doors and door hardware, and ornamental metal sheeting. Materials left behind during a previous failed restoration attempt in the 1990s were also reused as much as possible. Modern building systems are being incorporated including an efficient mechanical system and infrastructure to accommodate public assembly uses.

CLIENT: Battery Park City Authority
SIZE: 40,000 square feet
COST: $31 million

Newark Military Park

Military Park is a six-acre park located in downtown Newark, New Jersey. It was originally laid out in 1667 as “Training Ground.” Now, Military Park is the central gathering space for Newark workers, residents, and visitors.

H3 worked with the City of Newark on the redevelopment of Military Park, an underutilized public space at Broad and Centre Streets. The design intent behind the redevelopment is to preserve the current layout of the park, but add features which return the park to its former grandeur as downtown Newark’s “front lawn.” Features include new planting beds and trees throughout the park, new lighting, and the addition of a comfort station and restaurant located at the eastern end of the plaza.

The focus of the park is the Tudor sword in front of the Wars of America monument. Once a reflecting pool for the monument, the sword is now completely planted with flowers. Lighting along streets and paths, monuments, and trees were also added creating focal points in the park.

CLIENT: City of Newark / Military Park Restoration Corporation
COST: $8 Million

Wichita Central Library

H3 worked with the City of Wichita to develop plans for a new Central Library that will serve as the primary facility and administrative headquarters for the Wichita Public Library system.

By relocating the Central Library from the Downtown area to the Delano district of Wichita, the new Library will be a great twenty-first century public building that serves the needs of the wider Wichita community. The new location will serve as a gateway and anchoring destination for the city and will also be a catalyst for development across the river from downtown.

The new building’s form engages the natural physical conditions of the river and programmatically reflects the connection between historic residential neighborhood and downtown business district.

The design incorporates the latest technology and provides for future expansion strategies to enhance public learning and enjoyment potential of the facility well into the future.

CLIENT: City of Wichita, KS
SIZE: 90,000 square feet
COST: $37 million

Tobacco Warehouse

H3 was engaged by St. Ann’s Warehouse to propose renovation of the existing Tobacco Warehouse in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Constructed within the existing perimeter walls of the 19th century Tobacco Warehouse shell, this adaptive reuse project explored plans to create a one-of-a-kind performing arts facility and community cultural center in the heart of Brooklyn Bridge Park.

With minimal architectural intervention to the beloved ruin, H3’s design envisions a modern warehouse for the arts to support St. Ann’s Warehouse’s creative and versatile approach to theater-making, as well as community artistic and educational programs.

Two multipurpose rooms provide flexible performance space under one roof in the rectangular portion of the Warehouse. A principal performance space accommodates productions, festivals, and large events and a smaller venue houses rehearsals, community performances, meetings, and educational activities. Both spaces will be outfitted with necessary infrastructure to support a wide range of flexible staging and seating possibilities for 100-700 people. The project is designed to LEED Silver Rating standards or higher.

The open-air triangular form doubles as prefunction space and a café for Brooklyn Bridge Park, allowing visitors to experience and savor the character of the Tobacco Warehouse’s exposed, unaltered walls. The Garden inside includes landscaped planting beds, café tables, and chairs, and the original archways open to the Park.

Alive with year-round activity, the project will reinvigorate the Warehouse as a focal point for the neighborhood and a celebrated cultural institution for New York City.

CLIENT: St Ann’s Warehouse
SIZE: 26,000 square feet
COST: $15 million

James A. Farley Building Restoration

H3 was the lead architect responsible for the historic restoration and preservation of the James A. Farley Building’s redevelopment as Moynihan Station, the future home for long-distance Amtrak trains. The overall approach is a sensitive and compatible adaptive reuse of the complex, which maintains the functional character and spirit of the historic former post office, preserves the original historic fabric, and accommodates new uses and their associated technologies in an unobtrusive manner.

Our contribution to the restoration of the Farley building is to help balance preservation, technology, and contemporary design. Establishing a contemporary civic gateway and preserving a major Beaux-Arts landmark must be accomplished together in a design solution that honors the past and embraces the future of this major transportation center.

The grand facades and public spaces will be returned to their original magnificence. Inside, the main lobby’s decorative molded ceilings and marble columns, pilasters, archways, and floors will be restored, as will the north and south lobbies and rotundas.

The redevelopment of the Farley Building will give this historic landmark new life, open it up to the public for the first time in its 85-year history, and return a monumental civic gateway to New York City.

CLIENT: Pennsylvania Station Redevelopment Corporation
SIZE: 1.4 million square feet

Niagara Gorge Access Project

Our team renovated the observation tower at the Niagara Reservation State Park and enhancing access points to the Falls on the American side of the Niagara River. The new structure will replace the existing 280-foot tower enclosure and cantilevered walkway designed by Robert Moses in 1958. The structure is the chief tourist destination on the American side of the Niagara Falls, connecting Frederick Law Olmsted’s historic parkland on the upper plateau to the Maid of the Mist boat dock located at the river edge.

Our design preserves the existing structure, reducing its height so that it is in scale with its surroundings. A reflective glass curtain wall dissolves the tower’s mass into reflections of the sky, escarpment, vegetation, rock strata, Falls, and mist.

The cantilevered platform that pierces the tower’s upper level has a new, safer railing, but its exposed-truss structure was retained so that it seems to hover above the river.

A new building, at the base of the tower, houses the Maid of the Mist ticket booths, a gift shop, public restrooms, upper-access elevators, and mechanical systems.

The project successfully completes the development of a series of landscape improvements enhancing the visitor experience to this unique landscape.

CLIENT: New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
SIZE: 4,000 square feet
COST: $20 million

Brooklyn Academy of Music, Peter Jay Sharp Building

The Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), which opened in 1861, is America’s oldest performing arts center. It was destroyed by fire and replaced in 1908 by the new Academy of Music, now known as the Peter Jay Sharp Building, designed by architects Herts & Tallant.

This historic building was altered in an ad-hoc manner over the years, rendering it disjointed and confusing to patrons. As part of an overall renewal plan, our firm has designed and implemented several significant capital improvements over the past decade to upgrade and enhance audience experience, and create a unified whole including adaptation of the building’s original circulation patterns; creation of the BAMCafé as the primary lobby space; and transformation of the underutilized Helen Carey Playhouse into the four Rose Cinemas.

To complement the improvements that have taken place within, we completed the first major restoration of the building’s exterior, including restoration and replacement of all brickwork and terracotta details; replacement of the building’s cornice (removed more than forty years ago) with one that keeps with the historic design; refurbishment of stained glass windows above the entry doors; and installation of a new handicapped-accessible entrance.

Design of a new, undulating glass canopy completes the façade’s restoration and complements BAM’s historic legacy with contemporary vision.

CLIENT: Brooklyn Academy of Music
SIZE: 103,000 square feet
COST: $7.5 million