Bell Labs (Holmdel, New Jersey: 1957)
History: As Silicon Valley titans like Apple seek to create their own corporate superstructures, it’s instructive to look back at Bell Labs, not merely a birthplace of American ingenuity but also a masterclass in corporate construction by Eero Saarinen. The man behind “the Versailles of Industry,” (the GM Tech Center), Saarinen built this ahead-if-its-time tech incubator with interconnected skyways and a mirrored ball exterior, a 472-acre campus where an impressive number of scientific discoveries took place.
Status: Shuttered in 2007, the campus is owned by Somerset Development, which is trying to figure out ways to redevelop the site. Plans that have been floated over the past few years include scenarios that replace this iconic office complex with upscale homes.
What You Can Do: Late last fall, Somerset committed to a $100 restoration plan, promising to develop the largest vacant office building in the country with a preservationist mindset, conserving features like the architect’s conversation pits while turning it into a more elaborate live-work space with medial offices, a library, restaurants, offices, and cafes. Looks like now may be the time to invest in your own Saarinen-designed office space.
Image Credit: Lee Beaumont, Creative Commons