Pride of Place

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the American Institute of Architects, the organization’s New Jersey chapter has selected the 150 best buildings and places in the state. Here are a few of the most notable, from a Gothic basilica to a funky old burger joint.

Doo Wop Preservation, Wildwood
Three motels—the Caribbean (shown), Satellite, and Coral Sands—were cited for epitomizing the ebullient mid-century design style known, like the music that inspired it, as Doo Wop. In 1997, the nonprofit Doo Wop Preservation League was founded to promote and preserve the wacky style and new interpretations of it.

Trenton Bath House, Ewing
Neither situated in Trenton nor an actual bath house, this set of structures is the only work by famed architect Louis Kahn built in the state. Opened in 1955, the four pyramid-roofed rooms served as an entrance and changing areas for an outdoor pool. The design is noted for the engaging interplay of its basic geometric forms.

Wilson Hall, Monmouth University,
West Long Branch

The centerpiece of M.U.’s campus, this neoclassical French-style building was created on the footprint of the 1903 original, which was destroyed by fire in 1927. Formerly a private mansion, President Woodrow Wilson’s summer home during his campaign of 1916, and a private girls school, it was typecast as Daddy Warbucks’ mansion in the 1980 film, Annie.

The Tent colony and Great Auditorium,
Ocean Grove

In Victorian times, summer visitors pitched tents, enjoying the seaside air and the camp meeting. Sunday religious services and free pipe-organ concerts were held in the Great Auditorium, as they are today. So popular are the 114 tiny tents that the waiting list reportedly extends some 30 years.

Johnson & Johnson Headquarters, New Brunswick
Designed by noted architect Henry Cobb with the help of his more famous partner, I.M. Pei (of Louvre glass-pyramid fame), the J&J campus —which opened in 1983—sprawls across twenty acres with eight linked buildings. More than 2,500 employees work here.

State Capitol Complex, Trenton
The second oldest state house in the United States (after the Maryland State Capitol in Annapolis), the New Jersey State House was constructed in 1792. Overlooking the Delaware River, the building is integrated into its urban environment, unlike many capitol complexes that are set apart in park-like campuses. It houses the New Jersey Senate and General Assembly and the governor’s offices.

Tuckerton Seaport, Tuckerton
This charming maritime village has evolved to include seventeen historic and restored buildings connected by a boardwalk, a maritime forest, and a wetlands nature trail. Visitors to the 40-acre site explore the exhibits, tour Tuckerton Creek, and meet people who live, work, and play along Barnegat Bay.

Blair Hall, Princeton University, Princeton
The Tudor Gothic dormitory stands out even on a
campus of significant buildings. Considered the masterpiece of architects Walter Cope and John Stewardson, Blair Hall was built as a sesquicentennial gift to the
university by trustee John Insley Blair in 1897.

Campbell’s Field, Camden
Boasting one of the best views from any ballpark, Campbell’s Field in downtown Camden, home of the Camden Riversharks, overlooks the Ben Franklin Bridge past left field and the Philadelphia skyline past right field. The ballpark, completed in 2001, seats nearly 7,000 fans.

Lucy the Elephant, Margate
The 65-foot-high wooden elephant is the oldest surviving example of zoomorphic architecture in the United States. Now 126 years old, Lucy was painstakingly restored in 2000 and is toured yearly by beach-goers who enter through a door in her hind legs and then climb a spiral staircase. What’s up there? A concession stand.

Morristown Green, Morristown
A 2.5-acre park in the heart of downtown Morristown, the Green dates to the Revolutionary War. General George Washington set up camp here in 1777. Frequent summer concerts bring out crowds, and in pleasant weather the benches and grass beckon workers at lunchtime.

Weehawken Ferry Terminal, Weehawken
Accommodating 20,000 commuters daily, the striking glass- and-steel ferry terminal was completed in 2004, replacing the decrepit Port Imperial facility. Costing nearly $53 million, the new terminal will help lessen bridge and tunnel traffic across the Hudson River.

White Manna, Hackensack
One of the first fast food joints, this art deco diner serves tiny burgers slathered with sautéed onions and cheese. Designed by Arthur Sieber, it was introduced at the New York World’s Fair in 1939.

Barnegat Lighthouse, Barnegat
The second tallest lighthouse in the United States—its tip reaches 165 feet above sea level—the Barnegat is one of three lighthouses on the list, along with Cape May and Twin Lights in Highlands. Commissioned in 1859, Barnegat was designed by Brigadier General George Meade, who defeated General Robert E. Lee at Gettysburg. Although the lighthouse no longer functions as a navigational aid, it attracts thousands of visitors each summer.

Llewellyn Park, West Orange
This gated residential neighborhood calls itself America’s first planned community. Designed in the nineteenth-century style of New York’s Central Park, it has been home to many distinguished residents, including Thomas Edison. Several of its 173 homes were designed by notable architects, including Stanford White, Charles McKim, and Robert A.M. Stern.

Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Newark
The fifth largest Cathedral in the United States, it earned basilica status from Pope John Paul II in 1995. Finished in 1954, the  French Gothic structure took 50 years to build.

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