Hundreds visit Bell Labs for open house
Last Wednesday, hundreds of people attended an open house at the Bell Labs building in Holmdel — the now endangered Eero Saarinen-designed landmark — organized by Somerset Development. That firm is proposing an adaptive use of the huge building as a mixed use “town center” and wanted local residents and former Bell Labs employees to get the feel of the incredible building and its awe inspiring spaces.
PNJ, AIA-NJ and DOCMOMO were there to help tell upwards of 1,000 visitors about the history and significance of the building, Saarinen and landscape designer Sasaki & Associates, and to present the findings of the April 2008 Design Charrette. Mostly we talked with local residents about their love for the building and site, their concerns about how it can be re-used, and heard more great stories from former employees. Several of the latter were 2nd generation Bell employees who as children had joined their fathers at the grand opening in 1962. It made us imagine the great glass building’s early denizens as “Mad Men” with pocket protectors!
Somerset’s goal was to energize and inspire local folks to support preservation of the internationally important historic place. This week’s editorial in the Asbury Park Press certainly suggests our efforts bore some fruit.
See NY Times article