When a turn-of-the-century Norwegian Church in
Hoboken, N.J., became available around the time his firm was
looking to expand, Dean Marchetto, AIA, PP, founding principal of
Marchetto Higgins Stieve Architects (formerly Dean Marchetto
Architects PC), Hoboken, immediately saw the potential of restoring
the building to its original glory. "There was a dropped ceiling in
place when I bought the structure, but I knew the original metal
vaulted ceiling was up there," he says. "The vaulted ceiling
provided the potential for an inspiring design studio space
suitable for an architectural firm."
Within a few years the firm doubled in size from seven to 15
architects, and it became necessary to expand. Marchetto chose to
add a rounded room, known as an Apse, in the style of old Catholic
churches like St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, Notre Dame Cathedral in
Paris, and St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City, to the church
building. The new addition became his office and a conference area.
"Being modern architects we decided to build a modern abstract
version of what an apse would be on this 120-year-old building,"
explains Marchetto. "As such we had a little fun with it and named
the project 'Apse-Traction.' The interior volume of the Apse also
resulted in a creative workspace with lots of light."
Caliper Studio, New York City, fabricated the
structural steel frame for the apse, which is clad in VMZinc metal
wall panels in PIGMENTO Red, Green and Blue, from Umicore Building
Products USA Inc., Raleigh, N.C. The one-of-a-kind hexagonal panels
are designed by a computer script written with the help of students
at The Product Architecture Lab at Stevens Institute of Technology
in Hoboken. Each panel's dimensions are directly related to the
degree of curvature of each panel, and are determined by where the
panel is located. The laser-cut panels were installed one at a time
by Vitalistic Construction, Oakridge, N.J. Replicating reptile
skin, the scales at the top are smaller and get increasingly bigger
as they move down the roof's undulating form.
Apse-Traction, Hoboken, N.J.
Award: VMZINC ArchiZinc Trophy Commercial Building
Award from Umicore Group, and AIA New Jersey Design Award
Architect: Marchetto Higgins Stieve Architects, Hoboken,
Product Architecture Lab Stevens Institute of Technology,
Interior contractor: John Muller Construction,
North Bergen, N.J.
Lighting design: Robert Newell Lighting Design, Westfield,
Steel fabricator: Caliper
Studio, New York City
Zinc installer: Vitalistic Construction, Columbia,
Metal wall panels: Umicore Building Products USA
Inc., Raleigh, N.C., www.vmzinc-us.com