NEWARK VISITOR'S CENTER
Sited between the Passaic River and the former Morris Canal, the Newark Visitors Center recalls the historical conditions under which Newark thrived at the turn of the century. The public component of the building is a raised volume, reminiscent of a barge now lifted on its modern dry dock. This body is wrapped in wood reclaimed from old Passaic piers and docks while treated on the city side with a glass skin reflecting the inhabitants of the streets below while offering constant views of the occupants above. Below, a new section of canal is cut into the site adjacent to its ancient location. The canal grounds the building in this particular place and comments on the experience of the building and of a visitor’s understanding of the city. Pedestrians and vehicular traffic entering Newark along this edge are offered a reminder of the historical current which once dominated the streets of Newark.
Bisecting the site stands a volume of reclaimed brick, a material that helped make the city but now often finds itself in the landfill. This mass contains the administrative functions of the Center while providing a terrace and public access for the public. At the northwest corner of the site, the water from the new canal is urged to cover the wet terrace, providing a place for public gathering.
Across Jersey Street, the Passaic River is invited to approach the building, offering the future opportunity for a recreational waterscape while a bridge crosses the new inlet beyond.