City of Newark, NJ
In 2009, the City of Newark, NJ hosted an architectural competition for a new visitor’s center. The brief called for the center to be “a destination spot on its own” and create “a clear identity for the city.” In researching the potential users of the space, VITAL discovered that 34 million people pass through Newark’s airport each year; however, few travelers, even those with long layovers, spend time exploring Newark, a city with little-known cultural destinations and a deep industrial history. In order to make the visitor’s center an attractive and feasible destination for airport visitors, VITAL’s design proposal needed to extend beyond the physical space of the center. The proposal included an outline for a partnership with Newark’s Taxi and Limousine Commission to provide efficient transport to and from the site. Visitors could then have an immersive experience in Newark while knowing that they will not miss their connecting flights. This integrated approach to the new visitor’s center would help the city uphold the most prominent part of its identity: an essential extension of the vast US airport transit system.