Bell Labs Holmdel Complex
|Bell Labs Holmdel|
|Location||Holmdel Township, New Jersey|
|Address||101 Crawfords Corner Road, Holmdel, New Jersey|
|Owner||Somerset Development in contract with Lucent|
|Floor area||2,000,000 square feet (190,000 m2)|
|Design and construction|
|Other designers||Sasaki, Walker & Associates|
|Awards and prizes||1967 Laboratory of the year|
The Bell Labs Holmdel Complex functioned for forty-four years as a research and development facility, initially for the Bell System. The centerpiece of the 472-acre (1.91 km2) campus is an Eero Saarinen designed structure that served as the home to over 6,000 engineers and researchers. This modernist building, dubbed "The Biggest Mirror Ever" by Architectural Forum, due to its mirror box exterior, was the site of at least one Nobel Prize discovery, the laser cooling work of Steven Chu.
Before the present building, the site was used by Bell Telephone Laboratories for research, most notably Karl Guthe Jansky invented radio astronomy there. A monument was placed at the former location ( of the antenna almost seventy years later in 1998. The monument is a stylized sculpture of the antenna and is oriented as Jansky's antenna was at 7:10 p.m. on September 16, 1932, at a moment of maximum signal caused by alignment with the center of our galaxy in the direction of the constellation Sagittarius. )
In 1957 the Bell Telephone Company began to plan a research laboratory in Holmdel Township, New Jersey Constructed between 1959 and 1962, this complex was one of the final projects of Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen before his death in 1961. Used as a research and development complex, it served the needs of the Bell Laboratories division of Bell Telephone, later known as AT&T, Lucent, and Alcatel-Lucent. Basic research, applied hardware development, and software development occurred in the building.
The building's distinctive features, including its mirror-like appearance, led to recognition as the Laboratory of the Year by R&D in 1967.
The building was subsequently expanded in 1966 and 1982 to its final size of two million square feet of office and laboratory space. Despite these expansions, the original curtain wall design remained intact, as did the unique layout of the site, which included a large elliptical master plan and country-road like approach. Over its active life-span, the facility and its layout was studied in universities as a model of modernist architecture. Internally, the building is divided into four pavilions of labs and offices, each around an atrium. The internal pavilions are linked via sky-bridges and perimeter walkway.
In 2006, Alcatel-Lucent contracted to sell the facility to Preferred Real Estate Investments in the process of restructuring the company's research efforts. Despite initial plans to maintain the original buildings and keep the complex as a corporate office park, economic developments later resulted in Preferred seeking to re-zone as residential property. As a result, the complex was added to The Cultural Landscape Foundation's list of 10 Most Endangered Historic Sites in New Jersey in May 2007. Additionally action led to the creation of a citizen's group, Preserving Holmdel, by former Bell employees, to lobby for keeping the complex as it was when in use as a laboratory. Working with the community, ideas for changes such as a university center or recreational complex, in portions of the former facility are under consideration.
The Preferred transaction did not close and on May 17, 2012 Holmdel Township declared the site as an "Area in Need of Redevelopment"  and adopted a Redevelopment Plan for the property that included various adaptive reuses of the main building and the construction of up to 40 single family homes and 185 age-restricted townhouses outside the main ring road surrounding the building. The Redevelopment Plan is available on the Township's website. The complex is currently under contract to Somerset Development LLC. Somerset has provided concept plans for the redevelopment of the complex in accordance with the Redevelopment Plan and is in discussions with Township officials concerning the details of those plans. Somerset's Redevelopment Concepts are available online  and on the Township's website.
In Sep 2013, it was announced that the property was purchased by Somerset Development Corp for $27 million. The redevelopment project will include a health and wellness center, skilled nursing facility and assisted living center, a hotel, restaurants and shopping, spa, office spaces and a 20,000-square-foot public library. Recreation space and luxury homes are planned for the surrounding land.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bell Labs Holmdel Complex.|
In the early 1930s, before the present building, Karl Guthe Jansky discovered extraterrestrial radio waves using this antenna on the site.
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