Architecture People & Places


Kohn Pedersen Fox - Reskinning in Iselin

The new Centra Metropark office building in New Jersey, designed by Kohn Pederson Fox Associates, incorporates an existing four-story building on the site.  Photo: Michael Moran

The glass-clad LEED Platinum-certified Centra Metropark office building, in Iselin, New Jersey, was designed by Kohn Pederson Fox Associates. The 110,000-square foot (10,000-square-meter) building combines a rectangular, cantilevered fourth floor, supported on one corner by an irregular branching column and resting atop a re-skinned three-story existing office building.

"The core challenge of Centra was to evaluate an existing property that needed to be master planned for a one-million-square-foot development and decide what to do with its first building. This led to the development of a project that has a very strong sustainable mindset but also takes on the challenge of redefining the paradigm of the New Jersey office park experience.

"With a few strategic additions and subtractions, 30,000 square feet (2,800 square meters) of leasable area was added, which nearly doubled the building’s presence. A 10,000-square-foot (930-square-meter) addition, floated from the fourth floor, mirrors the existing building’s L-shaped plan, incorporates a new state-of-the-art curtain wall, and upgrades the building’s infrastructure. The addition transformed this 1980s eyesore and opened its potential for future growth." – AIA

Axonometric drawings of Centra Metropark. Image: Kohn  Pederson Fox

Jury Comments
While the context is less than desirable, the impact that this building has on the parkway has resulted in improvements of neighboring structures, proving that design can have a ripple effect in an otherwise mundane context.
The central exterior column supporting the massive truss level is built with precision and craftsmanship, allowing for maximum expansion while creating a covered welcoming piazza.
This project is an excellent example of the value of creatively reusing existing buildings and their embodied energy in lieu of tearing down and building new. 
This creative adaptive reuse strategy is applicable to suburban sites around the United States.

The Centra Metropark combines a dramatic fourth floor addition with a re-skinned multi-story existing office building. Photo: Michael Moran

Project Credits 
  • Architect: Kohn Pederson Fox
  • Owner: Hampshire Real Estate Companies
  • Contractor: Tishman Construction
  • Engineer - MEP and FP: AMA Consulting Engineers
  • Engineer - Structural: DeSimone Consulting Engineers
  • Landscape Architect: Towers Golde
  • Lighting Design: S+S Lighting Design

The building was recognized in the Architecture category of the 2013 AIA National Design Awards.

The covered entrance to the Centra Metropark buidling. Photo: Michael Moran
Centra Metropark section drawing. Image: Kohn Pederson Fox

The upper floor of the Centra Metropark is glazed and includes shading fins. Photo: Michael Moran

Looking into a bridge of the Centra Metropark. Photo: Michael Moran

A bridge crosses the sunken courtyard. Photo: Michael Moran

The existing building on the Centra Metropark site, before reskinning and expansion. Photo: Hugh Trumbull/ KPF

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