EDI International Wins Coveted Award From New Jersey Historic Preservation Office for Adaptive Reuse of Building in Jersey City

The architectural firm EDI International has received a prestigious 2016 New Jersey Historic Preservation Award from the New Jersey State Historic Preservation Office at a ceremony at Morristown National Historical Park, for the restoration and adaptive reuse of the Beacon Criterion building in Jersey City, N.J.

Victor Mirontschuk

​The architectural firm EDI International has received a prestigious 2016 New Jersey Historic Preservation Award from the New Jersey State Historic Preservation Office at a ceremony at Morristown National Historical Park, for the restoration and adaptive reuse of the Beacon Criterion building in Jersey City, N.J.

“These awards are our chance to honor the many individuals, organizations and corporations, and state, county and local governments who have worked hard to preserve New Jersey’s historic places,” said Daniel Saunders, the state’s Historic Preservation Office Administrator and Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer.

“This award is especially fulfilling to us,” says Victor Mirontschuk, EDI’s founder and chairman. “Converting an old hospital to multi-family rental units presented a host of seemingly intractable problems, but we were able to overcome all of them, one by one.

“Over the years, we have won about 150 awards.  But most of those awards were for new structures. An adaptive reuse historic project that is subject to many governmental conditions is much more complicated and difficult.”

The owner of the property is Building Land and Technology.  Erected as the Berthold S. Pollak Hospital for Chest Diseases in 1936, this Art Deco facility at the Jersey City Medical Center is the most recognizable building in the complex.  This is due, in part, to its dramatic, stepped-wings profile, which provided open-air porches for its tuberculosis patients.

Prior to its award-winning rehabilitation, the building had sat vacant and neglected since 2001.  Today, it is a successful mixed-use development, primarily multi-family rental apartment units.  The shallow depth of the former patient rooms led to long, narrow units with lots of windows, highlighted by dramatic multi-level ceilings.

“The building had a complex and very old structural system, and incorporating the modern mechanical systems was extremely difficult,” notes Mr. Mirontschuk. “What’s more, not only did the Historical Preservation Office require that the exterior remain the same, but also that the historic corridor had to remain exactly where it was during the building’s previous use.  Accordingly, all the doors had to stay where they had been – unless we created a panel that looked like a door.

“Then too, because of the forced corridor, we had to deal with very narrow spaces in the apartments.  Accordingly, maintaining the character of the main level was a difficult task.  As well, the actual existing stepping of the building also presented a challenge.  We were faced with very rigorous codes, a host of dead-end corridors, and a substantial distance from the apartments to the stairway.”

EDI’s work was under the direction of Mr. Mirontschuk and senior project architect Doug Johnson.

The annual NJ Historic Preservation Awards honor projects, and groups or persons, dedicated to preserving New Jersey’s history.  This year marks the 26th anniversary of the awards celebrating May as National Preservation Month.

Established in 1976 and with offices in New York, Houston, and the San Francisco Bay Area, California, EDI is a global architecture, interior design and planning firm specializing in commercial, leisure, hospitality, residential, planning, and landscape projects. The firm’s commitment to unconventional design, technology, and quality has been recognized by nearly 150 industry awards for excellence in design and planning.​

Source: EDI International