DMR Architects is a firm with a rich 30 year history.

Lloyd Rosenberg and Pradeep Kapoor

As New Era Begins, A Look Back at DMR History

As New Era Begins, A Look Back at DMR History 789 444 DMR Architects

On January 3 DMR named Pradeep Kapoor, AIA, LEED AP BD+C President & CEO, becoming only the second person in the firm’s 32-year history to serve in that role. Pradeep succeeds Lloyd A. Rosenberg, AIA, the visionary and driving force behind the firm that we know today.

As a new era begins, we look back on the other projects and moments that changed the course of our firm.

Pradeep Kapoor

DMR Names Pradeep Kapoor President & CEO; Founder Lloyd Rosenberg Chairman

DMR Names Pradeep Kapoor President & CEO; Founder Lloyd Rosenberg Chairman 2560 1450 DMR Architects

Pradeep Kapoor, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, who joined DMR Architects in 2001, has been named President & Chief Executive Officer of DMR Architects. Lloyd A. Rosenberg, AIA, who founded the firm in 1991, has been named the newly created role of Chairman and will remain active in strategic initiatives.

As part of a long-term succession plan, DMR named Francis Reiner, PP, LLA, Kurt Vierheilig AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Charles H. Sarlo, Esq., and Mr. Kapoor partners of the firm in 2017.

Mr. Rosenberg’s strategy of integrating design, planning, and construction management services has resulted in it rising to the third largest architectural enterprise in the state with special strengths in municipal planning, residential, public, educational, and healthcare practice areas.

“Lloyd’s visionary leadership has not only shaped the identity of our firm, it has fostered an environment of creativity and excellence,” said Pradeep Kapoor.  “His guidance has left an indelible mark and I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to build upon the remarkable legacy he has created.”

“Pradeep has grown immensely during his years at DMR and it is very gratifying to see him assume control of the day-to-day operations of the firm,” said Lloyd Rosenberg.  “The culture of DMR has continuously evolved, but threshold moments like this are rare in any firm.  It is especially important to me that the partners are collaborating not only in selecting a new leader but in directing the future of the firm.  DMR is at the all-time height of its productivity and influence in the marketplace and is on the precipice of becoming an even greater version of itself.”

Text that says DMR Dimensions, Winter 2023-2024.

DMR Dimensions – Winter 2023-2024 Edition

DMR Dimensions – Winter 2023-2024 Edition 2550 1252 DMR Architects

The latest DMR Dimensions is here.

We hope you enjoy reading about the people and projects that made 2023 another great year at DMR.

The DMR team poses for a group photo.

DMR’s Success Linked to Team’s Cultural and Skills Diversity

DMR’s Success Linked to Team’s Cultural and Skills Diversity 789 444 DMR Architects

New Jersey is the fourth most diverse state in the United States and nowhere is that more evident – or beneficial – than at DMR Architects, where more than half of the employees are naturalized or first-generation Americans.

DMR’s teams of varied voices are uniquely qualified to lead projects that are intended for vast populations including healthcare, public education and parks, municipal redevelopment plans and buildings, and residential options that range from affordable rental housing to luxury condominiums. The outcomes ensure that no one will walk in and think “this building is not for me.”

“The benefits of diversity and inclusivity are profound – we see positive impacts in a broad spectrum of expected and unexpected parts of our business,” said Lloyd Rosenberg, AIA.

“A variety of cultures creates a mixture of perspectives and that leads to greater creativity in our work – something we would expect.   But additionally, our clients come from a broad set of backgrounds, and when they respect that our organization has a value system that welcomes diversity, a comfort level ensues.”

Mr. Rosenberg, a native of Jersey City, which is among the most diverse cities in the country, observed that DMR’s structure – which features integration of practice areas – also is an allegory for diversity.

This firm’s cultural diversity is mirrored in the varied skill sets and levels of the team – and its business thrives as a result.

“In our environment, the blending of diverse professional foci is beneficial to serving our clients and to our employees’ career advancement.  It is perfectly natural that the backgrounds of our people would contribute to our culture of performance.”

There are 14 different countries of birth for DMR employees, and when their parents’ places of birth are added in, the total of 26 countries of origin is an extraordinary representation at a firm of just 45 employees.

“Architecture today should reflect inclusivity that goes beyond ADA compliance; it should have cultural compliance.  We want everyone to feel seen and heard and comfortable being themselves.”

Just as cross-practice interaction has led to outcomes that far surpassed what one mindset would achieve, cross-cultural collaborations garner far more creativity than if the firm were more homogenous.

“We’ve created the workplace composition that is necessary to get today’s projects done in a way that will continue to be relevant for generations.”

DMR Dimensions – 30th Anniversary Edition

DMR Dimensions – 30th Anniversary Edition 2000 1125 DMR Architects

On July 15, 1991, a team of four opened DMR Architects. Led by Lloyd Rosenberg, AIA, the group set off first to find a client and a project, then on to building the firm as we know it today. Since then, we’ve designed thousands of projects valued at billions of dollars in construction work. We’ve worked right in our own backyard and across the world in China, Costa Rica, Nigeria and Romania. We’ve designed elementary schools, luxury lofts, downtown master plans, police stations, modern offices, and renovations to an elementary school forced to close following Superstorm Sandy. We’ve seen technology and trends come and go, but we’ve always maintained our commitment to inspire through functional and aesthetically pleasing design. In our anniversary issue of DMR Dimensions, we recap the latest DMR news, and also look back on many of our most significant professional milestones and projects over the years.

DMR eyes continued growth, pipeline diversity as firm marks 30th anniversary

DMR eyes continued growth, pipeline diversity as firm marks 30th anniversary 2000 1125 DMR Architects

By Joshua Burd

Lloyd Rosenberg walks through the halls of the Frank J. Gargiulo Campus in Secaucus with an obvious pride, pointing out everything from the color scheme and curvature of the hallways to a fully equipped teaching kitchen for students at the 350,000-square-foot high school.

His affinity for the space is understandable. Completed in 2018, the $150 million complex is not only a signature project for his firm, DMR Architects, but the largest of its kind for a practice that has spent three decades designing educational facilities.

“The firm was founded doing schools,” said Rosenberg, DMR’s CEO and president. “If you look around this building, you see that … it has a great number of elements — colors, materials, acoustics — that are a higher end of creativity than a typical school building.”

Education remains a cornerstone of DMR’s business, as evidenced by the state-of-the-art vocational school, but the firm is now every bit as prolific in sectors such as multifamily, government, health care and interiors. That growth has helped it build a portfolio of more than 3,000 projects since its founding — as the practice marks its 30th anniversary — and a current pipeline that spans 200 projects valued at more than $1 billion.

That means there are likely more milestones to come for the Hasbrouck Heights-based firm, which has grown from a team of three to 45, whose services now range from design to redevelopment planning.

“We’re busier than we’ve ever been — across the board,” Rosenberg said.

The Jersey City native started his career in the mid-1960s after attending the acclaimed College of Architecture at the University of Oklahoma. Fittingly, his first major project after returning to New Jersey was the new Glen Ridge High School, he said, recalling a design that involved a large cantilever overhang at the main entry and a central library surrounded by classrooms.

Rosenberg would spend the next 25 or so years working on not only schools, but on office, residential and other project types, building a diverse foundation that would guide the rest of his career. Still, it was education that helped him launch DMR in mid-1991, in the wake of a recession, as a three-person operation.

“There was not a lot of work in the business to go after,” he said. “I was lucky to get some of the school clients that I had to continue with us to do their work.”

Among its early projects was a new Sparta Middle School, a 127,000-square-foot facility that would open in the late 1990s. The local school board retained DMR early in the process after voters approved the project, which would become the largest building in Sussex County at the time and showcased the firm’s capabilities.

“I felt like I had hit a milestone doing that,” Rosenberg said, noting that the firm had only about 10 employees at the time, making it all the more notable to work on the roughly $35 million project. It was also a chance to bring high-end design to a school after a period — starting around the 1950s, he said — in which aesthetics had seemingly faded from public buildings.

Even with the milestone, Rosenberg saw the need to branch out.

“It was important for us to diversify our practice because the last thing we want to do is specialize in one particular area and then when that area dries up … we run out of work,” he said. “In my career I’ve seen some of those spikes and highs and lows, so we purposely diversified in all of these other areas.”

That was no easy task for a firm that was “known as a school architect,” he said, but DMR succeeded in the years that followed. Rosenberg attributes that to key hires such as Pradeep Kapoor, who has spearheaded its growth in areas such as government and public safety, which were a natural choice due to its experience with school districts. That has led to a long list of projects such as the Bergen County Public Safety Operations Center in Mahwah and the Jersey City Justice Complex.

Additionally, Rosenberg cites the growth of DMR’s multifamily residential practice, which has designed 10,000 units in New Jersey in recent years, amid an ongoing apartment boom that is poised to continue. That has included everything from Russo Development’s conversion of the historic Annin Flag factory in Verona to new midrise rental buildings throughout the state.

“We can’t build enough multifamily housing,” said Rosenberg, who hopes to see the pace continue for at least the near future. “I’m old enough to know that it doesn’t last forever, but we’re certainly taking the ride right now.”

The past decade has also seen the growth of DMR’s redevelopment and municipal planning practice, which is best-known for crafting a rehabilitation plan for Hackensack’s downtown. Led by Francis Reiner, who joined the firm in 2008 to launch the practice, the team has guided the city’s efforts to create a mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly environment around its aging Main Street corridor, helping to attract developers and resulting in more than 3,500 new apartments completed, under construction or in development in the district.

The effort has also yielded new community and outdoor public spaces, plus improved pedestrian and automobile circulation by bringing two-way traffic back to Main and State streets.

“From my perspective, the city had great leadership and was willing to listen to new ideas and opportunities,” Reiner said. “We were at the table when all of those things happened, so that was really both personally and professionally very rewarding, and the city has supported what our plans were and we’ve had great success there.”

Reiner, a partner and senior urban designer with DMR, credited Rosenberg for supporting the growth of the practice and having the vision that being a leader in planning and redevelopment would “provide the firm with a pipeline of opportunities from an architectural standpoint.” To be sure, the platform began to expand in earnest around 2015, bringing the firm to municipalities ranging from Elmwood Park to East Brunswick. It now has about 100 active planning projects in a given month, Reiner said, thanks in part to its ability to offer both design services and consulting in areas such as zoning, construction pricing and navigating the state’s redevelopment law.

“I think we look at a broader picture,” he said. “It’s usually a problem or an issue that the municipality has to solve and we believe we bring a lot to the table in helping them solve that problem. As opposed to just solving the problem for the architect or solving the problem for a planner, we’re trying to solve a problem for how you finance it, how you get it built, what’s the timeframe, what’s the cost — all of those things come into play.”

DMR’s planning and residential practices are now intertwined as integral parts of its pipeline going forward. Look no further than communities such as Ridgefield Park, where the firm developed the master plan for the mixed-use, 55-acre Skymark Town Center, while designing a 19-story high-rise in the borough with 552 apartments.

Its foothold in education also remains as strong as ever. Having completed more than 1,000 school projects to date, equating to more than $900 million in development, its pipeline in the sector now comprises roughly $325 million in activity. That includes new schools in Plainfield, Paterson, Carteret, New Brunswick and Jersey City, as well as 25 upgrade projects in New Jersey and 40 in New York City.

Even DMR’s corporate interiors practice is busy, Rosenberg said, despite the uncertainty caused by the pandemic. As it were, he said the firm is fortunate that COVID-19 impacted its pipeline far less than anyone had feared.

“We were worried about what was going to happen, but we didn’t have any breakdown in projects or clients. I think it was more about managing the staff and managing people,” Rosenberg said. He added that the firm was about 90 percent remote for the first few months of the crisis before bringing team members back to the office for much-needed collaboration.

The diversity of DMR’s portfolio has been critical to withstanding the pandemic and other past downturns, which is a point of pride for Rosenberg. He’s also proud of how his team has grown in recent years, he said, noting that “I would hire more people if they were available.”

“Finding good people right now is very hard,” he added, but he believes that the firm’s multidisciplinary platform is a key draw for prospective employees.

“One of the things we like to consider with staff is that they don’t get pigeonholed into a particular area,” Rosenberg said. “So a young architect that comes into the firm, if they’ve always done houses (but) they want to see other things, we offer them the ability from project to project to work on different things so they get experience, they get knowledge. They may eventually like one particular area and become better at it than others.”

This article was written by Joshua Burd and originally appeared in Real Estate New Jersey

To get things done in NJ, he knows how to break all the rules

To get things done in NJ, he knows how to break all the rules 2000 1125 DMR Architects

by George E. Jordan

Redeveloping communities so they are livable, look nice and stay nice sounds easy.

But in New Jersey, a tangled maze of zoning codes can derail even the most modest projects, according to legendary architect Lloyd A. Rosenberg, whose work can be seen across the state.

Too often, Rosenberg said, out-of-date zoning laws devolve into a restrictive blanket of codes, historic districts and development zones. The patchwork means virtually all projects require an exemption, a process long used by opponents of development to stifle construction.

But two very different projects some 40 miles apart – Hackensack’s historic downtown and East Brunswick’s plan to create a town center – are experiencing a revival through skillful revision of their zoning codes.

Their success can be a lesson for others.

“They’re different, but they seek the same results,” said Rosenberg, who founded DMR Architects in Hasbrouck Heights 30 years ago. “The municipalities are looking for some type of town center. At one point, Hackensack had it and lost it. … East Brunswick didn’t have one, but we’re helping them plan something.”

Rosenberg’s firm helped write the land use plan for both towns. The vision relies on New Urbanism, high-density development that assumes people prefer to drive less and have the option to walk to take care of their ordinary daily needs – food, health, work, play and school.

East Brunswick Mayor Brad Cohen, who made building a town center a platform of his 2016 election campaign, said Covid-era hybrid work has only amplified the opportunities.

“The pandemic has people more accepting of hybrid work. So it makes sense to activate some of the retail that people feared would be empty during the day,” said Cohen, who is also a gynecological surgeon. “The architects have been very helpful in designing the redevelopment plan.”

East Brunswick’s plan calls for 700 residential units, retail outlets, a parking deck, parks, an ice skating rink, a theater, dog park and other amenities on 66 acres in the auto-centric town that ultimately will resemble the quant downtowns of Robbinsville and Metuchen, the mayor said.

“People bought into this because the properties were blighted. It was a strain on the community. The buildings are burnt out and there’s nobody in them,” Cohen said.

Unlike East Brunswick, downtown Hackensack, the Bergen County seat, is a one-time industrial powerhouse that had fallen on hard times in recent years.

“Hackensack never had a vision. What Lloyd and DMR said is you didn’t have development for 30 years because there were too many small properties,” said Francis Reiner, an urban planner at DMR Architects who works with Hackensack’s planning officials.

Reiner said the 39-acre downtown included almost 400 lots between 35 feet to 75 feet wide, too narrow to develop into multifamily apartments or condominiums.

So beginning in 2012, Hackensack offered property owners an incentive: land assemblages of 200 liner feet or greater could build as high as 14 stories tall instead of 6 stories high under the old zoning law.

In short order, 25 different partnerships submitted redevelopment plans. So far, Hackensack officials said the city has added 1,000 residential units, 1,500 more are under construction and another 3,500 are on the drawing board.

Outdated zoning codes tend to focus on design features – cornices, mullions, rooflines, massing and setbacks on new buildings. Frequently, those requirements are a convenient excuse for New Jersey towns and villages to keep everything the same.

And the buildings that do win approval often are more expensive because of delays in government approvals, low density and small square footage in the name of controlling traffic congestion.

To counter that inertia, the plans for East Brunswick and Hackensack included expedited approvals of redevelopment plans and building permits to prevent delays and hold down costs, Rosenberg said.

Then there’s the “third place,’’ a development concept encouraged in the master plan that says part of the community is neither at work nor home. Instead, that space is for people to meet and interact. That could be a park or a performing arts center.

Rosenberg, 78, does extensive work on public projects and has a reputation for his political connections and good bedside manner with clients.

His staff argues the odds are good most New Jersey residents have seen some of his work, which includes dozens of public buildings, the Secaucus NJ Transit rail station, Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck, the NJ Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial in Holmdel and dozens of large residential developments.

Rosenberg studied architecture at Oklahoma University under the celebrated urban planner Herb Green and Lloyd Wright, the brother of the renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

That influence shows in the plans for Hackensack, where the rules for the gentrification of buildings call for variegated façades, receding rooflines, lots of glass and intersecting cubes in different colors and materials.

At street level, those features make the new high-rise apartments feel smaller.

“Hackensack is on the way to be successful. There’s more restaurants coming, there is more foot traffic on main street,” Rosenberg said. “In two or three years, it should be bustling just based on the volume of the number of people living there.”

This article originally appeared in The Star Ledger


A collage of 30 years of newsletters covers and the author's photo.

Reflections on the First 30 Years of DMR Architects

Reflections on the First 30 Years of DMR Architects 2560 1450 DMR Architects

By Lloyd A. Rosenberg, AIA

In anticipation of our 30th Anniversary, I was asked often about how we built the firm that DMR is today. But as I reflect on this answer, I find that the key to our longevity is just as much in the answers to “what?” and most importantly, “who?”

We opened in 1991 with four employees who had a vision to push boundaries with technology, innovative design and attentiveness to our client’s operational opportunities and objectives.

It was a vision that began more than 30 years prior at the College of Architecture at the University of Oklahoma, which I attended during its golden era, studying under famous architects including Lloyd Wright, son of Frank Lloyd Wright, Bruce Goff, Herb Greene and Paolo Soleri. The program shaped not only a design sensibility in me, but the grueling 5-year program instilled in me a high energy for the work.

My career prior to founding DMR provided a wide variety of experiences and projects that were excellent preparation for creating and running the practice we have today. I built an entire city in Nigeria, where I would spend three months at a time and once even hid out in a safe house during a coup. I also designed a $100 million luxury apartment complex that received attention as the units were rentals, an uncommon concept at the time.

Eventually, the nature of the projects I worked on grew to focus largely on the educational sector. Appropriately, when I founded DMR, we set out to provide professional services primarily to school districts and we landed our first major project, a new elementary school in Brewster, NY.

At that time, we never could have mapped out a plan for creating and sustaining the broad set of practice areas and disciplines that now comprise DMR. But from the first day I knew that we would achieve one of the most elusive aspects of architecture: a durable enterprise.

I envisioned a firm ingrained in the fabric of New Jersey’s real estate industry and most importantly, a place where talented people do great work. This meant building a company that could withstand economic cycles, keep pace with emerging technologies and practices and one that was constantly cultivating and empowering new talent. Diversification was critical to this goal.

Of course, the trust that our clients have put in us to construct some of the region’s most meaningful and essential projects over the years has also facilitated our execution of this vision. But, ultimately creating the base from which we grew was not just about timing; it was about intention.

Clients tend to emerge within cycles and reacting to market evolution was particularly essential to achieving stability in our practice. Identifying solutions for our client’s needs is the very basis of our mission – a commitment that calls on our passion to overcome challenges.

For us, diversification was a reflexive opportunity: because we had a practice that was cross pollinated, we saw solutions that more narrowly organized firms could never see. Because we had diverse clients, our people always had new and exciting challenges.

Every business has its own culture and value system and at DMR our focus is on guiding the firm based on a core belief that creating a rewarding environment for employees is one of the most important objectives of the firm. In service businesses, our staff is the most prized asset and we are devoted to nurturing our people so that they strive to reach their potential within our walls.

DMR is a place that celebrates not only big things like our 30th anniversary but also, holidays, professional achievements and personal milestones. We have fun together with ugly sweater and pumpkin carving contests, cruises around the Meadowlands and nights at the nearby racetrack.

When I reflect on the most important stats of DMR, it’s not project metrics that I am most proud of; it’s that our staff tenure averages over 10 years and that I have had the privilege to grow this firm along with a team of professionals just as invested in our success as I was, which includes many who have been here for upwards of 20 of DMR’s 30 years.

Of course, reflecting on our people also means preparing for the next 30 years of DMR. A threshold moment of the firm came in 2016, when for the first time, DMR named five partners. While I am as engaged and driven as at any other time in my career, I also recognize that a new generation is emerging here.

At our scale, we can provide opportunities for advancement for everyone who has the ambition and the energy to make things happen. The most gratifying aspect of this is that our management meetings focus on sustaining DMR by extending and enhancing the culture that brought us here.

This article originally appeared in Meadowlands Magazine. 

Introducing the DMR Foundation

Introducing the DMR Foundation 789 444 DMR Architects

Today we are excited to announce the establishment of the DMR Foundation.

Since 1991, we have seen our work have a profound impact on the communities we serve. Just as we have delivered the visions and physical infrastructure that have provided critical programs, paved the way for economic growth and improved quality of life, we have turned our clients into friends, joining them in support of their civic and philanthropic efforts.

To that end, we’re celebrating our 30th anniversary by expanding our charitable efforts. The establishment of the DMR Foundation will allow us to expand our support of the services that are most important to our neighbors, ensuring that we continue to grow together.

DMR Honored with CIANJ Environmental Leadership Medal

DMR Honored with CIANJ Environmental Leadership Medal 789 444 DMR Architects

On April 26 DMR was among those to receive a 2019 Environmental Leadership Medal from the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey (CIANJ) at its celebration of environmental leadership in the business community. The inaugural awards program celebrated environmentally-friendly companies that have demonstrated leadership in sustainability. DMR was honored in the category of green leadership, which recognized the firm for having a commitment to sustainability at the management level.

DMR has been at the forefront of sustainability and sustainable design in New Jersey for more than 15 years. The firm was one of the earliest to embrace LEED certification, with the first of its professionals receiving certification in 2003. This commitment led to the creation of a Director of Sustainable Design position, one that is still fulfilled by the same person, a Partner of the firm, today. The firm also designed Carlstadt Elementary School, the first LEED Silver public school in New Jersey and the first LEED certified building in Bergen County, a catalyst to a portfolio of LEED certified buildings that now includes five Gold, Silver and Certified level projects, with several more on the boards to receive certification in 2019.

Pictured above, from left to right, are Francis Reiner, CIANJ President Anthony Russo, and Lloyd Rosenberg.