Illustration by a young Barney Gruzen for a Competition
The Beginning: Kelly & Gruzen
In 1936 L’Ecole des Beaux Arts trained Barnett Sumner Gruzen and US Army Corp of Engineers trained Colonel Hugh A. Kelly joined efforts and established the office of Kelly & Gruzen in Jersey City, NJ and focused their work on restaurants, retail, and government projects. During wartime, the firm designed Army and Army Air Corp base structures, and Navy engine-testing facilities.
Firm’s New Jersey & NYC Growth
In the fifties, the firm’s NYC office expanded to a location on 14th Street while the New Jersey office relocated to Newark. Several Design awards were given to Kelly & Gruzen for precedent-setting projects for New Jersey and New York public school systems. Master Planning and urban renewal projects were combined and Colonel Kelly retired from the firm. Barnett Gruzen continued as sole owner with architects such as George Shimamoto, Lloyd Fleischman, and Admiral John Manning.
In The Architectural Record
Architectural Record is an American monthly magazine that is dedicated to architecture and interior design. Throughout its 125 years in print, Architectural Record has fostered readership among architecture, engineering, and design professionals by featuring articles that showcase noteworthy architectural works throughout the global landscape.
Office Grand Opening
(Left to Right) Max Drill, Sam Klein, Barney Gruzen, Koel Gross at office opening in 1950.
Meeting Albert Einstein
"Dr. Einstein congratulating Mr. Gruzen on the design of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Princeton, NJ on March 15th 1953."
Kelly and Gruzen in 1962
Spanish Pavilion, 1964 World’s Fair
Undoubtedly the most widely acclaimed building at the Fair, the Pavilion of Spain created a unique combination of architecture and art in unity, each supporting and emphasizing the other. Produced in less than a year, it involved the use of extensive Spanish made materials requiring careful integration into the American built structure. the building consisted of several elements creating interior and exterior spaces sheltered by the buildings enclosing walls of pre-cast concrete panels supported on a steel frame structure. Valuable Spanish art treasures and two restaurants featuring Spanish cuisine were housed in the Pavilion.
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.
Iconic Projects of the 1970’s
In the 1970’s, Gruzen & Partners realized major developments for public and private clients. Located near the Brooklyn Bridge the firm designed the iconic New York City Police Headquarters, Chatham Green Apartments, Chatham Towers, The Galaxy, New Jersey’s tallest residential complex at the time. 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.
Iconic Projects of the 1990’s
During the 1990s Michael Kazan and Scott Keller became partners with Jordan Gruzen and Peter Samton. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) commissioned the firm to design its new Headquarters on Pennsylvania Avenue. In conjunction with the Croxton Collaborative, Gruzen Samton wrote the EPA’s sustainable design guidelines.
During the early 2000’s a new generation of partners joined the firm, including Susan Wright. The new partners brought an expanded range of expertise to the firm with 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 R. Conwell Campus and the 100 Jay Street Condominiums.
Joining Forces: IBI Group – Gruzen Samton Architects, Engineers, & Landscape Architects
In 2009 Gruzen Samton entered into a strategic partnership with global A/E firm IBI Group based in Toronto. This partnership has enabled our New York City office to be involved in projects all across the globe such as the subsurface train stations for the Red Line in Tel Aviv Israel and the Crosstown Eglinton Light Rail Stations in design now in Toronto, Canada.
The move from the Meatpacking District to Wall Street
In 2015, we moved our office from the Meatpacking District to the heart of Wall Street.