Master Plan: Mixed-Use
Building: Residential with Mixed-Use Ground Floor
Lotus Equity Group
Architect of Record: Minnow & Wasko Architects and Planners
MEP: AKF Engineers LLP
Civil, Geotechnical, and Environmental: Langan
Landscape: Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects
Traffic and Parking: Sam Schwartz Transportation
Construction Consultant: Hollister Construction Services
Master Plan: 8 acres
Building: 625,000 GSF
Residential Units: ~730
There are certain American cities that defy the conventional wisdom of urban history, places that stereotypically conjure fear and despair yet refuse to be defined by their sorrows. To the contrary, these cities each have their own indefatigable spirit defined more by the histories, cultures, and communities they created. Despite struggling through riots and recessions, racism and recidivism, cities like Newark have the gift of diversity, the authenticity of history, the texture of work ennobled by the likes of Philip Roth, and the street cred that means when Nina Simone returned from Paris in 1998 to give a rare concert, she gave it in Newark. Huge strides forward have been taken with the renewal of cultural spaces and initiatives, as well as the influx of corporate headquarters and academic institutions. Yet the city still hums with the faint echo of a place that once buzzed, of a place longing for a turning point.
Lotus Equity Group engaged PAU to develop the master plan for the site currently occupied by the 8-acre Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium, in downtown Newark, and to design one of the three buildings that will occupy the property. Positioned minutes from Broad Street Station and, therefore, Midtown Manhattan, the property sits at the nexus between the Passaic River and Branch Brook Park; between the central business district, home to the headquarters of Audible and Prudential, among others, and the nearby diverse residential neighborhoods, like the Ironbound.
All of these factors informed PAU’s pedestrian-focused master plan, which creates a sequence of public spaces linking Broad Street Station to the future Newark Riverfront Park. The project site is centered around a 1.5-acre piazza that shares its triangular geometry with Military Park and Washington Park in central Newark. Arranging the development around this public passage ties the site into its surroundings and provides space for the cultural and recreational uses that will define its sense of place, grounding the other new transit-oriented mixed-use programs. The proposed network of public spaces aspires to ignite a new pedestrian ethos in Newark’s burgeoning downtown community.
The first new structure planned for Riverfront Square will include rental apartments and a large flexible-use retail space at its base. The building’s form is derived from contextual opportunities and constraints. The client’s deep interest in European courtyard housing typologies, supplemented by an extensive research trip the team took to visit Copenhagen’s new food-truck market halls and Berlin’s “hofs,” deeply influenced the design. The history of Newark as Brick City, as a place that is intensely “street,” grounded the team’s minds and sketchbooks. The resulting proposal, entitled “Street and Sky,” attempts to collage these influences into a whole. A human-scale, masonry base houses a large informal ground-floor food hall and a series of courtyard residential entries. Above, the sinuous form of the residential structure reflects and reinterprets the larger urban forces around the site, capturing desired views and greeting visitors as they arrive at Broad Street Station.