JacobsWyper Architects is pleased to announce the opening of Johnson & Johnson Our Story at the Powerhouse, an interactive experience located in the former Powerhouse building at the company’s global headquarters in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Originally constructed in 1907, it is currently the oldest building on campus and the last remaining structure hearkening back to the company’s manufacturing history in New Brunswick. Working with construction manager HSC Builders and Johnson & Johnson’s Global Strategic Design Office, JacobsWyper led a thorough renovation and restoration of the historic building to accommodate the immersive exhibition of Johnson & Johnson’s 130-plus-year heritage.
Visitors are welcomed by a new landscaped plaza and a 2,800-square-foot, glass-enclosed lobby addition, replacing the powerhouse’s original office annex. As a testament to the building’s history, the annex’s original brick facade was salvaged and painstakingly reconstructed to serve as a freestanding entry portal to the lobby. Enclosed by 18-foot-high structural glass panels, the lobby addition itself is a modern and unobtrusive counterpoint to the Powerhouse’s masonry architecture and provides ADA-accessible entry into the main building.
The fully-restored main hall, which once housed steam-driven electric dynamo generators, now features a unique storytelling experience designed by museum planning and exhibition design firm Gallagher & Associates. A combination of historical artifacts, interactive multimedia touchpoints and a 24-person theater bring to life Johnson & Johnson’s legacy of transformative, global healthcare innovation. The original enameled brick interior walls, roof trusses and pressed metal vaulted ceiling, hidden by various interior modifications throughout the decades, were uncovered and restored to further enhance the historical context of Johnson & Johnson Our Story at the Powerhouse. Adjacent to the primary exhibit area are climate-controlled archive and exhibition workspaces, providing visitors a glimpse into conservation and archival storage processes. A small kitchen and staging area at the rear of the facility allows the Powerhouse to serve as a host for catered events.
Sustainable design and construction practices were key to the Powerhouse’s modernization, ultimately earning the project LEED certification. The decision at the outset to renovate and restore the existing historical structure was the overarching sustainability strategy – at the project’s completion, over 91% of the existing walls, floors and roof had been reused or retained to create Johnson & Johnson Our Story at the Powerhouse. In addition, approximately 77% of the construction waste was recycled. Other sustainable elements include the use of low VOC-emitting materials, low-flow plumbing fixtures, energy-efficient LED lighting fixtures and drought-resistant landscaping that mitigates the need for permanent irrigation.
“JacobsWyper is honored to take part in the preservation of Johnson & Johnson’s legacy through the transformation of this historic structure, which enhances the interactive experience of Johnson & Johnson Our Story at the Powerhouse,” commented Jamie Wyper, co-founder of JacobsWyper Architects.
More information about Johnson & Johnson’s legacy of global healthcare innovation can be found at the company’s new interactive online experience, Our Story.