New Brunswick, N.J. – Preservation New Jersey (PNJ) has named DIGroup Architecture, a leader in educational architecture, interior design and environmental graphics design, as the 2022 David H. Knights New Preservation Initiatives Award recipient for its innovative design work at Trenton Central High School (Trenton, NJ) and Camden High School (Camden, NJ). The firm is being recognized for its sustained contributions to the understanding and promotion of historic preservation and history in the state.
The U.S. Green Building Council New Jersey also recently named Camden High School as its 2022 LEED Project of the Year in the “Schools” category.
Awarded annually, the New Jersey Historic Preservation Awards celebrate excellence in preservation across a wide range of categories. In addition to acknowledging the top preservation projects in the state, other categories include leadership, writing and rising young professionals.
“DIGroup Architecture is driven by a unifying ‘architecture for change’ mindset that is evident in every single one of our educational projects, where we strive to deliver innovative designs that connect, enhance and strengthen the experience of the end users as well as the greater surrounding community,” said Jeffrey Venezia, CEO of DIGroup.
“Thanks to our unique specialty in repurposing historic artifacts from a demolished building and memorializing them into a new design, we are able to incorporate an interpretive component into the learning environment and connect a newly designed exhibition space to the past, present and future,” said Marina Stern, the firm’s director of graphic design. DIGroup worked closely with the New Jersey Schools Development Authority (NJSDA) on both assignments.
At Trenton Central and Camden High Schools, demolition of the original historic structures yielded architecturally significant columns, capitals, pediments, mosaics and other artifacts. In turn, these were integrated into the design of their respective replacement schools.
“In both instances, our multi-disciplinary team designed and helped curate a customized interpretive exhibit display of artifacts and signage that was unique to Trenton Central High School and Camden High School,” said Stern, who noted the firm has been engaged for similar projects across New Jersey, New York City and Philadelphia.
To achieve this, DIGroup’s architects, interiors team and environmental graphics specialists collaborated with staff, alumni, families, local community members and historical societies to document the traditions, catalog artifacts and research over 100 years of achievement. The end result: an enriched user experience that weaves the previous building’s past into a modern-day learning environment.
Founded in 1978, Preservation New Jersey is a non-profit, member-supported historic preservation organization. As part of its mission, the organization promotes the economic vitality, sustainability and heritage of New Jersey’s diverse communities through advocacy and education.
Established in 2006, DIGroup Architecture is a nationally recognized leader in architecture, interior design and environmental graphic design with studios in New Brunswick, N.J., and Philadelphia. Its practice areas focus on the full range of educational, healthcare, senior housing and civic/community gathering spaces. A certified Minority-Owned Business Enterprise (MBE), Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) and Small Business Enterprise (SBE), DIGroup subscribes to an Architecture for Change philosophy, which is a belief and commitment that through transformative designs it is possible to connect people, improve lives and enrich and strengthen communities.