IBI Group ▪ Gruzen Samton is an architecture, planning, interior design, and systems engineering firm based in New York City and Alexandria, Virginia. We are recognized for our portfolio of prominent design and planning projects, spanning over 75 years of practice. Our outstanding team of professionals continues this rich legacy and is dedicated to design excellence in response to client needs and expectations.
We are proud that the majority of our projects come from repeat clients, from 1pharmacyonline both the private and public sectors. We have long, successful histories with the US General Services Administration, the NYC School Construction Authority, the District of Columbia Courts, and nearly every division of the NY Metropolitan Transit Authority.
Our broad experience with numerous project types in New York City and Washington DC has given us a thorough understanding of local zoning, building codes, permits and the landmark preservation approval process.
IBI Group ▪ Gruzen Samton is committed to innovative design solutions that realize the goals of our clients. While our past experience informs our design work, we view each project as an opportunity to seek fresh solutions. We ask critical questions, listen carefully, and examine context in response to specific project challenges.
Sustainable Design Leadership
Our firm is committed to creating environmentally responsible high performance design. We believe that high performance buildings are those that achieve functional and aesthetic goals while using healthful materials and conserving natural resources. As designers we achieve this balance by paying equal respect to people, the environment and the bottom line. We work with each of our clients to develop appropriate design strategies. Many of our projects are LEED™ certified, ranging from LEED™ Silver to Platinum.
Building Information Management
IBI Group ▪ Gruzen Samton utilizes Building Information Modeling (BIM) software to create virtual models of our projects. The use of BIM has transformed our ability to visualize complex interrelationships of space program, building systems and architectural form. Our office has embraced this technology. The majority of our staff are trained and proficient REVIT software users. The firm has used this technology from initial planning through construction administration on both major new construction and renovation projects.
IBI Group ▪ Gruzen Samton is an ISO 9001:2000 registered company and has firmly established quality management mechanisms built into the daily regimen for all technical discipline deliverables and management processes.
The Beginning: Kelly & Gruzen
In 1936 B. Sumner Gruzen and Colonel Hugh A. Kelly established the office of Kelly & Gruzen in Jersey City, NJ and focused its work on restaurants, retail, and governmental projects, such as a state armory and a county courthouse.
The Decade of World War II
During wartime, the firm designed Army and Army Air Corp base schools, housing and hospitals, and Navy engine-testing facilities. After the war, Kelly & Gruzen started an extensive specialization in public housing—funded by new public agencies such as the Federal Housing Administration.
The Firm’s New Jersey & New York City Growth
The firm’s NYC office moved to an expanded location on 14th Street while the New Jersey office relocated to Newark, where it remained until 1986. Design awards occurred frequently for precedent-setting projects for New Jersey and New York public school systems. Master Planning started with urban renewal projects that combined residential, commercial, retail and recreational programs. Colonel Kelly withdrew from the firm. Barney Gruzen continued as sole owner with management and design support from his senior architects such as George Shimamoto, Lloyd Fleischman, and Admiral John Manning.
The Era of Expansion & Specialization
In 1967, Kelly & Gruzen reorganized itself to become Gruzen & Partners, which reflected the addition of new designers, including Jordan Gruzen and Peter Samton. It also expanded with a Washington, DC, office and began specializing in new town planning, facilities for the elderly and judicial architecture. These areas of expertise helped Gruzen & Partners garner nationwide recognition with projects ranging from Florida to Alaska. Under Governor Nelson Rockefeller, the firm designed over 4,000 housing units for the New York State Urban Development Corporation. We also designed 13 buildings on SUNY’s Stony Brook campus, which include the Earth and Space Science Building, the Graduate Physics Mathematics Building and residential facilities.
The Iconic Projects
In the 1970’s, Gruzen & Partners realized major developments for public and private clients. Located near the Brooklyn Bridge we designed the iconic New York City Police Headquarters. Chatham Green Apartments, Chatham Towers, and Murray Bergtraum High School. In midtown, our spectacular transformation of the Commodore Hotel into the Grand Hyatt Hotel marked the reemergence of 42nd Street as a tourist and business destination. Our design for a new U.S. Embassy in downtown Moscow achieved international attention.
We also continued focusing on residential projects. The 600-unit,1973 Schomberg Plaza complex provided excellent moderate-income housing and sparked a neighborhood renaissance. The Galaxy, New Jersey’s tallest residential complex at the time, included 1,200 units and 2.3 million square feet of floor space. The Solow Residential Tower was New York City’s first high rise residential tower designed with a glass façade; it featured a smoky gray curtain wall.
The Focus on Campus & Urban Context
Our designs in the 1980s became increasingly sensitive to site and context forces in order to enhance the urban fabric and place our projects within it. While doubling the size of its original campus, the prestigious commission for the Jewish Theological Seminary reflected the institution’s unique spiritual and academic life. The York College Academic Core Building on a new 9-acre urban campus represented a major revitalization effort in Jamaica, Queens. In the new waterfront community of Battery Park City we designed The Regatta, the first in a series of residential and school projects there.
The firm continued to design projects sensitive campus settings for aging adults. In Cincinnati, Maple Knoll Village, a comprehensive retirement center, was realized in several phases. The Hebrew Home for the Aged’s Alma and Gilbert Pavilion integrated existing facilities on its senior living campus.
Innovative School and Office Design
During the 1990s Michael Kazan and Scott Keller became partners. By working with Jordan Gruzen and Peter Samton these new leaders, with decades of firm experience, assured the partnership’s continuity and brought renewed energy to it.
At this time the newly formed New York School Construction Authority was searching for ways to accelerate school design and construction delivery. Our firm responded with an innovative prototype–one based on a system of predesigned architectural components and successfully used the prototype on multiple projects. We also worked closely with the New York City Department of Education, Battery Park City and Cooper Robertson & Partners, with whom we associated, to design the new Stuyvesant High School. This nationally recognized high school for 3,000 students showcased New York City’s commitment to the highest levels of academic excellence. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) commissioned us to design its new National Headquarters. The project encompassed the renovation of the Agency’s 1.4 million sq ft complex on Washington, DC’s Pennsylvania Avenue. Located between the White House and the US Capitol, EPA’s National Headquarters was the nations’ first significant federal office development to apply sustainable design principles. We wrote, in collaboration with the Croxton Collaborative, the EPA’s sustainable design guidelines.
A New Generation and Commitment to Sustainable Design
During this decade a new generation of partners joined the firm, including Geoff Doban, Darko Hreljanovic, Cathy Jackson, Jaqueline Hill, William Singer and Susan Wright. The new partners brought expertise to the firm in the design of educational facilities, residential projects, cultural institutions and transportation complexes. The firm completed award winning projects that include among others the Staten Island Zoo Reptile Wing, El Museo del Barrio, Port Imperial Ferry Terminal, the Jersey City Public Schools Frank Conwell Campus and the 100 Jay Street Condominiums.
The firm’s contributions to sustainable design continued as government policies and client focus shifted to encompass new thinking on indoor air quality, cradle to grave material resources, water management and energy conservation. We encouraged LEED™ accreditation for our staff and championed design based on green principles. The Cornell University Human Ecology Building and the Sunrise Yard Maintenance Facility achieved LEED™ Platinum certifications. Numerous other projects received LEED ™ Gold and Silver certifications.
IBI Group ▪ Gruzen Samton looks forward to the future by enhancing our core areas of expertise—civic, education, housing, interior design, planning, sustainable design and transportation—with achievements based on using new technologies. As part of the IBI Group, we anticipate the success of global reach that is based on local knowledge and expertise.
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We are proud to be an Affirmative Action / Equal Opportunity Employer.