DIGroup Architecture earned the New Preservation Initiatives Award from Preservation New Jersey for its work at Camden High School (pictured) and Trenton Central High School. The firm incorporated historic structures such as architecturally significant columns, capitals, pediments, mosaics and other artifacts into each school’s new design. — Photo by Nicholas Venezia/Courtesy: DIGroup
By Joshua Burd
A nonprofit focused on historic preservation has recognized DIGroup Architecture of New Brunswick in connection with projects at high schools in Camden and Trenton.
The design firm announced recently that it has earned the 2022 David H. Knights New Preservation Initiatives Award, an annual distinction presented by Preservation New Jersey. The award is tied to DIGroup’s design work at Trenton Central High School and Camden High School, where it spearheaded projects in which the demolition of historic structures yielded architecturally significant columns, capitals, pediments, mosaics and other artifacts that were integrated into the design of their respective replacement schools.
“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.
The firm, which focuses on educational architecture, interior design and environmental graphics design, noted that 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.
“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. She noted that DIGroup worked closely with the New Jersey Schools Development Authority on both assignments.
“In both instances, our multidisciplinary 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,” Stern said.
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 more than 100 years of achievement, according to a news release. The result was an enriched user experience that weaves the previous building’s past into a modern-day learning environment.
The firm has been engaged for similar projects across New Jersey, New York City and Philadelphia, Stern added.