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A Steel Mill Reforged: A Design Proposal for a New Technology Center in Harrison, NJ

Kroon, Julie M.

The town of Harrison, NJ was founded in 1840. It quickly became an industrial center because it is situated near major rail facilities and possesses a large waterfront, making it ideal for manufacturing and trade. Harrison was nicknamed the “beehive of industry” by President Howard Taft in 1912. One such complex of industrial buildings occupies a site directly south of the PATH station near the Passaic River. Originally built at the time of World War I as the Crucible Steel Company, the buildings have had many different tenants in the last fifty years. Most of the buildings are currently vacant, with two large shed buildings used to park cars for commuters and soccer game attendees. However, plans for a new residential community and mixed-use facilities on this and adjacent lots threaten the future of the buildings and the industrial heritage of Harrison. Many of the surrounding factories have already been torn down in the last ten years to make way for development, including a soccer stadium that opened in 2010. Panasonic is currently
constructing a 58,000 SF technology center on the site beside the existing buildings. Instead of tearing everything down and making a bland corporate environment, why not adapt the existing structures to preserve and continue to use them? The buildings on this site are architecturally and historically significant, and today’s companies stand to gain from reusing them rather than constructing new ones. They can be adaptively reused as part of a new
technology complex that would preserve the historic use and character of both the individual building and the town of Harrison. This design proposal will attempt to prove that the reuse of early twentieth-century industrial buildings for the modern technology sector is not only feasible architecturally, economically, and environmentally, but can also yield a superior workplace environment for the tenant corporation, its employees, and the surrounding community.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Historic Preservation
Thesis Advisors
Freeman Jr., Robert B.
Degree
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
June 13, 2013
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