Jersey City, New Jersey
The headquarters of the American Can Company, also known as CANCO—the company that invented the modern-day aluminum can—were designed by Alfred Kahn and constructed in 1927. The original buildings are now being transformed from an industrial art deco factory to 1,000,000-square-feet of 5 residential towers re-envisioned by SBLM Architects.
Elements of the building’s industrial past remain: a saw-toothed roof, grand-scale windows, 14-foot ceilings, and interior mushroom-capped columns. CANCO Lofts is the largest rehabilitation of an industrial facility in the New York metropolitan area.
But the 4,300-square-foot lobby, designed by LOT-EK, situated within the 400,000-square feet of the first of 5 towers that will eventually house 551 lofts, is conceived as an intimate dynamic space that enables a sense of residential community, an indoor piazza of sorts.
The glazed facade invites natural light into the lobby and provides a view to the outdoor garden and landscaping. Slabs of stacked Douglas fir throughout the interior weave the lobby’s design in consistency. Douglas fir planks are formed into benches along the glazed perimeter. The benches are suspended over the lobby’s polished concrete floor and are retrofitted with a system of modular leather cushions. The ceiling mirrors the idea with planks that are suspended overhead into as a drop ceiling.
Floor-to-ceiling narrow wooden slabs are stacked to form a continuous wall that intersects the lobby space with a video wall that hosts 21 LCD screens. The wall was conceived as a sculptural object, an oversized electric circuit and freestanding interior facade that spans across the entire lobby. Images of video art, views of the Manhattan skyline, and community news updates flash across the screen.
Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
Eric Ettinger, PE
Jeffrey Reeves, PE
Jan Saltiel Rafel, CLA
Cabinetwork and custom woodwork: R&S Custom Steel
Paints and stains: Benjamin Moore