The Montgomery Municipal Center at 100 Community Drive in Skillman — Courtesy: DMR Architects
By Joshua Burd
DMR Architects is marking the completion of a new municipal center in Montgomery Township, with a design that honors the community’s heritage while modernizing its facilities.
The firm, which worked on behalf of the municipality, said the 62,000-square-foot project now houses the town’s police headquarters and administration, a new branch of the Somerset County library system and council chambers arranged around a central common public lobby. The facility opened earlier this year at 100 Community Drive, in the town’s Skillman section, after what DMR and local leaders described as a collaborative approach that included input from municipal and county voices, as well as many residents.
“The new municipal center has been planned to serve as a community gathering place, something that the township has long sought, and which has proven even more essential after two years of the pandemic,” Montgomery Mayor Devra Keenan said. “This is not just a building to us — it is a representation of Montgomery’s collaborative spirit and pride of place.”
In detailing the project, DMR said its team conceived the design to reflect the township’s identity as a close-knit suburban community with deep agricultural roots. It features design choices that evoke old barns and farm structures — with local and contemporary material choices such as the gable roof, stone, metal roofing, wood siding and heavy timber canopies — which were incorporated with an abundance of glass to provide a modern flair.
DMR added that the council chamber is the focal point, featuring an expressive gable roof clad with zinc panels and a glazed wall to blend both the historical and contemporary. The lobby and library’s interior finishes include glass wall dividers to separate functions, stone flooring and countertops and earth-toned wood paneling and furniture to further integrate the interior into its external design and natural surroundings.
“There is a distinct shift in attitudes away from building utilitarian municipal facilities that are seen as a place people ‘have to go to,’” said Kurt Vierheilig, director of design and partner with Hasbrouck Heights-based DMR. “Trends are moving towards providing residents with a location that is more welcoming and engaging to the community.
“It’s important to a project’s success to work in unison with residents, county and municipal leaders. The spirit of collaboration was strong at all levels and the final product is something we are all proud of and that will be used for many generations.”