Eero Saarinen's Giant 1957 Masterpiece in New Jersey Restored and Reimagined

Eero Saarinen's Giant 1957 Masterpiece in New Jersey Restored and Reimagined

By Zachary Edelson
The cutting edge of laboratory design when first built, Bell Labs is being revamped to fulfill a new role—bringing the city to the suburbs.

It’s no small irony that the building that opened the information age can only be fully experienced in the flesh. Surrounded by verdant fields and trees in Holmdel, New Jersey, Bell Labs is a shimmering glass box 1,186 feet long, 350 feet deep, and 74 feet tall. Contained within its mirrored shell are four separate office towers, all linked by walkways but separated by three football field–size atriums. By day, a massive skylight illuminates these sublime cathedral-like spaces. Designed by Eero Saarinen and built in three phases from 1957 through 1985, its laboratories hosted the cutting edge of scientific research. Its new owners Somerset Development—who have renamed it Bell Works—and Alexander Gorlin Architects are betting they can leverage its unique design to foster an unprecedented revitalization. 

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