Newark-native Richard Meier has not forgotten his roots. Established by the Puritans as a colony to follow the rules of the church in the 17th century, Newark evolved into a prosperous industrial center during the 19th century, experienced a harsh period of industrial and social decline after WWII, and is currently seeking to reestablish its reputation as a renewed urban metropolis. Meier has supported such efforts to restore the city’s vitality, including chairing an international design competition for the creation of a Visitors’ Center for Newark (check out some proposals we’ve previously featured here). Back in 2010, Meier & Partners shared their vision for a new Teachers Village for the city – a four block-long mixed-use development aimed at attracting young professionals who work in the educational system to reside in the downtown area. This past week, we are happy to share that the Village, which includes two school buildings with three charter schools and a daycare center, 70,000 sqf for retail space, in addition to the rental apartments for Newark teachers, has broken ground. More about the project after the break.
With distinguished guests such as Governor Chris Christie and Mayor Cory Booker looking on, the ground breaking ceremony was a big step forward for Newark as it is envisioned to revitalize a large portion of the city’s downtown area, create jobs and spur future development.
As the Teachers Village occupies a large area south of Market Street and west of Broad Street, each new building of the project is site specific and is designed relative to its context to provide a rich variety of street conditions. The new Halsey Street retail corridor is at the heart of the development and offers a mix of venues for vibrant street life. The residential spaces and schools are designed with generous windows that are open to the light, energy, and activity of the streets below. And, a portion of the roofs and elevated courtyards will serve as green terraces with gardens.
Richard Meier explained, “I was born in Newark and have vivid memories of visiting my families’ business in downtown Newark. This is a sort of homecoming for me and an opportunity for me to apply a lifetime of skills learned in the world arena to the revitalization of a major area of the city’s downtown.”