Construction is currently under way for the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission’s River Barge Park in Carlstadt, New Jersey lead by a team that includes DMR Architects of Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey and general contractor, Arco Construction Group of Elizabeth, New Jersey. The NJMC had to first acquire four acres in Carlstadt, formerly known as the Barge Club, for redevelopment as a riverfront park with approximately 400-miles of shoreline in order to help preserve open space and provide public access to the Hackensack River.

River Barge Park will include a marina that will provide water access as well as a waterfront promenade, picnic areas, and educational signage that will identify the natural and historical aspects of the park. Also part of the project is the renovation of the river’s edge that will be restored to highlight the natural connection to the river. DMR Architects designed the park with the intention of maximizing its natural beauty by integrating the new construction into the native habitat through the planting of new wetlands along a portion of the shore while trying to avoid a manmade look and feel. The architectural team found this aspect of the design to be the most challenging.

The park will also include two on-site buildings designed to match the early 20th century river barges that had been docked at the site, one for motorized boats and one for non-motorized boats as well as restroom facilities and an open-air pavilion made from wood salvaged from the original barges. Sustainable design elements including storm water management bio-basins, native plantings, and solar powered pathway lighting and salvaged nautical materials such as old anchors, channel markers, barge access ramp and dock mooring ballards will be re-used and incorporated into the design. 

“Instead of designing buildings that do not connect with the land, we provided our creative architectural design expertise and worked with NJMC landscape designers to bring out this area’s history and beautifully natural attributes,” said Lloyd A. Rosenberg, President and CEO of DMR Architects. “

The New Jersey Meadowlands Commission’s River Barge Park is slated for completion in June 2011.

-Carolina Worrell