McCarter Switching Station

Newark, New Jersey, USA

  • Status
    2018
  • Size
    16,187 m² / 174,239 ft²
  • Category
    Civic
  • Design Architect
    Adjaye Associates
  • Architect of Record
    WSM Associates
  • Client
    PSE&G
  • Electrical Engineer
    RDS Associates
  • Landscape Architect
    D. W. Smith & Associates
  • Lighting Consultant
    Regency Lighting
  • Structural Engineer
    Garden State Engineering

Technical Info +

The project establishes new multi-use community spaces including a canopied passageway encompassing a market, temporary and permanent art installations, and informal gathering spaces.

A reconceptualization of the protective façade of an electrical switching station, The McCarter Switching Station Art Wall transforms a necessary and performative piece of urban infrastructure into an expansive civic space for public art. Conceived as an inside-out gallery, the 30-foot-tall walls feature original works from 14 local and international artists. The project establishes new multi-use community spaces including a canopied passageway encompassing a market, temporary and permanent art installations, and informal gathering spaces.

The Art Wall spans 1,790 feet, enclosing the 4 acre substation. Green spaces surround the base of the wall, and a landscaped promenade adjacent to the market mediates between community space and new development. Niches for permanent artworks allude to the sculpted caryatids of classical architecture. The niches are embedded into a vertical screen of curved perforated aluminum and corrugated precast concrete held at constant elevation. The wall registers with the natural variations of the site, creating a sense of rise and fall, and allowing travelers to find themselves eye-level with the work at specialized viewing points in the perimeter. Commuters can access the agora, formed by the 49 weighted canopy tops, through a porous pedestrian passageway leading to the market and temporary art exhibitions. The market is framed by 34-feet columns that taper upwards into 49 weighted canopy tops and support a dramatic overhead art installation.

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