Award-winning architectural practice, The Kimmerle Group, celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. The Harding Township-based company, which consists of seven divisions, has established a national reputation for its work in areas including corporate office, healthcare, urban planning and design, education, residential and preservation.
In the Garden State, the firm’s more recent work includes: the 275,000-square-foot headquarters for Realogy in Madison; the 75,000-square-foot headquarters for fashion icon Aeropostale in Bergen County; the 130,000-square-foot master plan and medical office/ambulatory care building for Chilton Medical Center and Atlantic Health in Pompton Plains; and the 32,000-square-foot headquarters for VNA of Somerset County in Bernard’s Township. Among Kimmerle’s past work is the 340,000-square-foot Raritan Expo Center in Edison.
When asked, “What is the secret to the firm’s success?” George Kimmerle, the deep voiced and gregarious founding principal of the firm quips, “Given all of the economic cycles we have survived, I am surprised we are still here.” However, he credits the firm’s success to its staff of 32, its top-notch architects, and its dozen diverse “bedrock clients” in New Jersey and across the country who have been with the firm for 25 years.
Along the 25-year journey with Kimmerle is partner Paul Newman, who heads the Kimmerle Newman Architects division. The two met when working together at a New York City-based architectural firm. “George and I connected … we both liked designing interiors and working with corporate commercial users,” Newman recalls. “After five years working at the company, George took me out to dinner in 1989 and told me he was leaving the company and going on his own. He wanted me to come along.
“We didn’t know if it was going to work, but we decided to give it a shot. I have to give George credit; he’s a good marketer. He knows how to go out there and get the work, and I can get it done,” Newman says.
Today, Kimmerle’s idea of good architecture encompasses sustainable design, many elements of which are evident at the company’s new 8,500-square-foot headquarters in Harding Township. “First, this is a repositioned building that sat vacant for years,” Kimmerle says. “The idea was to embrace the environment in which it is located – next to a preserved farm. The building has geothermal heating, a lot of open light and views of the landscape, and is made of environmentally sustainable, locally sourced materials.
Joining the firm full-time in 2010 after receiving his Masters in Architecture from the Rhode Island Institute of Design, is William Kimmerle, George’s son. He is the leading member of the firm’s Urban Studio effort in Manhattan, which focuses on urban design, planning and architectural assignments with an urban disposition.
When asked if there is a certain element to a Kimmerle-designed building that makes it instantly recognizable, William responds, “I think design should work more for the needs of the people we are working with. We are not a firm that marches in and pounds away with something it has conceived or that has a trend it is trying to create.”
Adds Newman, “Our goal is meeting client requirements and exceeding those requirements. If they want a space that is functional, cost effective and on budget, and they want it to look cool, our mission is to do all of those things and hit it out of the park.”
Besides Kimmerle Newman Architects and Urban Studio, other company units include: Kimmerle Workspace Inc., a procurement division which provides wholesale furniture and equipment to the Kimmerle family of corporate clients; Kimmerle Branding Studio, an integrator of corporate branding themes into architectural and interior design expression; KG project management, which provides owners representation and property management services nationally; Kimmerle Development Advisors, engaged in commercial and residential development throughout New Jersey; and Millennium Office Solutions (MOS).