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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.

The CIANJ hosted the event at the Glen Ridge Country Club. Pictured above, from left to right, are Francis Reiner, CIANJ President Anthony Russo, and Lloyd Rosenberg.

How DMR Architects took ‘design’ into multiple business areas

How DMR Architects took ‘design’ into multiple business areas 2000 1125 DMR Architects

In our continuing series of interviews with members of the Rutgers Center for Real Estate’s Advisory Board and Emerging Leaders Council, Kevin Riordan (KR) of the Center sat down with Lloyd Rosenberg AIA (LR), President & CEO of DMR Architects to get his insights and perspectives on the firm and its business model.

KR: Lloyd, while your company’s name includes the word ‘Architect’, your firm is actually involved in a number of various design and planning initiatives. Please give our readers an overview of how your firm evolved and the different segments of the real estate business you currently serve.

LR: Given my background as an architect, the firm started out in 1991 with that as its primary focus. However, an interesting confluence of events began to occur which caused our company to expand beyond our basic discipline of architecture. First, we recognized that our clients were not singularly focused on delivering solely built environments, but rather, we saw there were opportunities to work with our clients to build, expand and plan entire communities and environments. We were able to build on this and expand into planning. We expanded into sustainable design in a similar way. Members of our staff were some of the earliest to embrace sustainable design, which led us to designing the first LEED Silver public school in New Jersey. While I am proud that we have been able to watch trends and expand our capabilities in that way, adding talented staff has been a large part of our growth as well. I think we offer a very uniquely qualified and diversely talented staff, and that has helped us take on a very diverse set of projects.

Hackensack downtown area, before and after DMR Architects Design of the Cultural and Performing Arts Center and Public Park.

KR: So what project comes to mind where you combined these multiple disciplines to present a turnkey solution for a client?

LR: The best example I can think of would be in the City of Hackensack, where we have supported the City from both a professional planning and architectural design perspective. The planning work and its successes have been significant in downtown Hackensack, and some of these projects have required architectural support as well. Just last month, the City cut the ribbon on the new Hackensack Cultural and Performing Arts Center. This was the final phase of a four-phase project that brought a public park and cultural arts center to the downtown. In addition to serving as the redevelopment planner, DMR designed the park and the Cultural and Performing Arts Centers.

KR: 1991 was a bad time for real estate. So tell us your thought process on starting a company in an environment where not only credit but RFP’s from building owners and developers were not piled high on your desk.

LR: Well let’s start by clarifying that 1991 was not just a bad time for real estate, the sector was in a depression. So my thought was ‘it can’t get any worse from here’ and we started the company. Something is always happening in real estate. At the time it was tenant retention; less value creation. And since we were a much smaller organization at the time, we could afford to take on some projects at breakeven levels of profitability just to establish our name. There was also a change in ownership of properties due to foreclosures, which opened up a new group of potential clients. Looking back, I don’t think we were calling a bottom to the cycle but we were pretty close to it. And to add to the previous question, the addition of the different services has allowed us to diversify our revenue over the cycles.

KR: Is it simply a diversification model that has led to DMR’s success or can you point to other factors?

LR: Experience is certainly a good factor to have continued success. But the additional capabilities of the firm have helped brand us that we can provide turnkey solutions for clients. But what I see as a source to grow our brand has been our willingness to embrace challenges that were not necessarily within our bandwidth. For example, we designed the train station for the spur link to the sports complex in the Meadowlands. Since we never did something like that before, I think it energized the staff. And that engagement has now enabled us to be the designer of the train station in Bloomfield, New Jersey.

Meadowlands Train Station

KR: Staying with trains for a moment, what are you trying to achieve with your station design in Bloomfield?

LR: If you know this station, you know that the platforms are about 20 feet above grade. So the first issue that must be addressed is accessibility. And while people need and want accessibility, they will also want it to be convenient. The Township of Bloomfield, which owns this station, wants an aesthetic to the site. So given the significant development around the station, we have to incorporate both current structures as well as future projects. Those requirements serve DMR well since we are designing both the existing building as the environment it is in. Finally, the station has to be comfortable. This will probably not be limited to just padded benches. Again, while this type of project may have challenging aspects, it is also the type the team gets excited about.

KR: You have been in business 26 years. You started out as three employees and now have more than 40. You have expanded your lines of business as you have seen an increase in the scope of services required. So what are the challenges to your business? What is rewarding?

LR: First and foremost is retaining employees. When you are a service provider, staff longevity and experience provide prospective clients the confidence to check that box. As clients have sought solutions for projects that are both the built structure as well as its surrounding environment, it has become very important to manage the expectations of your client. As you add complexity or even more entities to work on a project, unforeseen results can occur. This is particularly acute as the clients are more informed also. Since we have become more involved in community planning, it is rewarding to see the energy and enthusiasm the staff expends on these assignments. It may be a result that someone either lives in that community or near it or knows a person who lives in it and a connection is created. Other times it is simply seeing the completion of a project knowing that one + one equals three.

KR: Lloyd, great spending time with you and providing some insight to the design and planning business.

This article originally appeared on Rutgers Center for Real Estate – Blog.

DMR Names Partners

DMR Names Partners for the First Time

DMR Names Partners for the First Time 789 444 DMR Architects

DMR is proud to announce that for the first time in its more than 25 year history, the firm has named partners.

Founded in 1991 under the leadership of Lloyd Rosenberg, DMR has grown to be a leading architecture and urban design firm. We proudly congratulate the firm’s first five partners, all of whom have played a major role in DMR’s success:

Gregg Stopa, AIA • Senior Vice President
Charles H. Sarlo, Esq. • Vice President & General Counsel
Kurt Vierheilig, AIA, LEED AP BD+C • Senior Designer
Pradeep Kapoor, LEED AP BD+C • Director of Sustainability
Francis Reiner, PP, LLA • Senior Urban Designer

Making Partner

Making Partner

Making Partner 960 540 DMR Architects

by Lloyd A. Rosenberg, AIA, President & CEO

The firm I founded in 1991, DMR Architects, belongs to six of us a result of naming the first of what I expect will be many partners.

The profession of architecture has spawned many compensation structures and equity arrangements, but it is probably fair to say that if a firm is going to invite partnership, it does so sooner than 25 years. So why now?

DMR generously rewards innovation and productivity and as a result we enjoy strong employee retention and company morale. Our wonderful company culture is always evolving and at this point in our history needed an aura of leadership that is prospectively eternal and needed to expand beyond one person. And then, after going through the process of contemplating where to begin sharing the firm, I realized that “making partner” is not just a recognition by the firm of the team member attaining an elevated value as a result of their contributions. Making partner happens because the firm itself creates an environment that encourages personal growth for its employees and has committed to a system of promotion that goes all the way to the top. Under that criteria, when I considered whom to name a partner, I realized I could make a case for almost everyone at the firm. And thereby began a difficult process of identifying a first set of partners who could act as mentors for other team members, resulting in the first five “making partner” and providing a path for the rest.

The new partners have committed to incorporating into our value system a process of continuing to make new partners, which will take on a life of its own. As a profession, architecture evades a simple metric for who drives the success of the firm. For example, while law firms are collaborative places, their nature is quite different from an architectural firm, where contributions to the end product come from a diverse set of professionals inside of and outside of the firm; and the regulatory and professional controls are applied in a variety of environments. Our billing routines are also unique to our profession. Like law firms, we like rainmakers and we like workhorses, but we don’t limit the measure of the team member’s value to those criteria. For example, we recognize that the contributions made by our in-house legal, finance, new business development and marketing people are invaluable to the operation of the firm.

So what “makes” a partner? At DMR, the common thread is that they treated the firm like owners before they owned it, but the other aspects vary a surprising amount. In varying proportions our new partners are old-hands, younger-hands, extroverts, introverts, scholars, warriors, romantics and empire-builders in varying proportions, among many other attributes.

If it is puzzling why it would take me 25 years to make partners and now I have made five partners and am looking forward to considering more, it’s because the process of inviting our first set of shareholders has been an epiphany to me of what makes DMR work: which is that many of our people feel like they own the place and are willing to do what it takes to help us advance as a firm.

Read more about DMR’s partnership announcement here.

Bergen architectural firm seizes big opportunities, thrives on a challenge

Bergen architectural firm seizes big opportunities, thrives on a challenge 960 540 DMR Architects

by Linda Moss

Architect Lloyd Rosenberg was undaunted when plans for a nearly $1 billion commercial development in Ridgefield Park had to be dramatically reconfigured to accommodate Al and Alice, a pair of bald eagles.

“We had to redesign the whole project,” said Rosenberg, president and chief executive officer of DMR Architects in Hasbrouck Heights. “It’s just part of what we have to do … It’s not unusual.”

DMR has done extensive work in North Jersey, where the only land left to develop often poses environmental or wildlife-conservation challenges, be it protecting eagles or bog turtles, according to Rosenberg. If you live in the region, odds are pretty good that you’ve set eyes on at least one place or project DMR has worked on, be it a hospital like Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck, the Secaucus train station, downtown Hackensack’s redevelopment or the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial in Holmdel.

This year, booming DMR, the fourth-largest architectural firm in the state in terms of staff size, is busy with two big projects. It is architect and planner for SkyMark, a Ridgefield Park development — in the works for two decades — that will include about 1,500 residential units, 350,000 square feet of retail space and a 300-room hotel when its final phase is complete. Construction on the project, dubbed “Eagle’s Nest” by some, is finally expected to begin this spring. And work is continuing on Hudson County’s new $144 million High Tech High School in Secaucus, designed by DMR. The final steel beam was installed last week at the site, 22 acres adjacent to Laurel Hill County Park. The 350,000-square-foot facility is slated to open in September next year.

A third DMR project, the $10 million transformation of the former Nets basketball team’s training center in East Rutherford to the home of the Meadowlands Area YMCA, opens in April.

Buoyed by such undertakings, and the economy’s recovery, DMR enjoyed a banner year in 2016, when it celebrated its 25th anniversary. The firm, which has about 100 projects in various stages, saw its projected revenue last year climb about 84 percent to $9.8 million from $5.3 million in 2015. So it could accommodate its increased workload, last year DMR added nine employees, bringing its staff roster to 39. And last week, for the first time, DMR named five partners, Rosenberg said, to spread management duties and to lay a foundation for his succession.

New high school was a boon

DMR founder Rosenberg, who turned 74 last week, said the firm got a big boost last year because work on the regional high school in Hudson County got off the ground, a project being bankrolled by the county and the state. He acknowledged that DMR suffered some bad years, most notably during the Great Recession, and cited the cyclical nature of his business in explaining why 2016 was stellar.

“The real estate market was strong in New Jersey,” Rosenberg said. “The municipalities we work with felt confident to go out and have their facilities improved. The private developers – low-interest rate, greater demand, increased values – they became strong. The reason we’re so successful is we have a very diverse practice. So we do private work. We do schools and colleges. We do public facilities, police stations and municipal buildings. We do office buildings. We do health care … We have a diverse practice, and all of the sectors in the market sort of increased volume.”

That’s the strategy behind having a full-service architectural practice, according to Rosenberg.

“We anticipate at times one sector is going to go down, and one sector is going to go up,” he said. “This particular year [2016] everybody went up.

Consequently, we did better and we hired more people.”

DMR’s recent growth appears to have been outpacing its peers. The American Institute of Architects tracks billings nationally and regionally through its Architecture Billings Index, or ABI , said Ben Lee, the new president of the group’s New Jersey chapter and chief financial officer for NK Architects in Morristown. In November, the index was 50.6 nationally and 50.8 for the Northeast, according to Lee. Anything above 50 represents an increase in billings. Referring to the Northeast’s performance, he said, “It’s good, but it’s not moving a full digit.”

Eagle issue resolved at SkyMark

The SkyMark center rivals American Dream Meadowlands, the massive retail-entertainment complex being built in the East Rutherford Meadowlands, in terms of its delays.

“We’ve owned this property since 1999,” said Tony Noce, development manager for Paramus-based SkyMark Development Co. “It was originally going to be developed as office but now it’s mixed use and it’s just a complex project … We’ve done all the environmental remediation. There was an eagle’s nest. We had to get major infrastructure improvements approved with the N.J. DOT [Department of Transportation] and the Turnpike Authority to provide access to the site. All these things take a lot of time to get.”

As the architect and planner, Rosenberg said DMR had the task of reworking SkyMark’s plans to create a five-acre buffer to protect the two eagles and their nest.

Ultimately, the plan approved by federal officials will carve out an 11-acre eagle preserve on the southern end of the SkyMark property, taking up about 20 percent of the 55-acre site, Noce said. SkyMark will be built at the crossroads of the New Jersey Turnpike and routes 46 and 80.

Noce said he and developer Ralph Ianuzzi Jr. are in the final stages of putting together SkyMark’s financing. They are slated to meet with the Ridgefield Park village board of commissioners this week to update them on the project, according to Mayor George Fosdick. Noce said he expects construction to start in late spring.

Police headquarters projects 

This year construction on another one of DMR’s projects, a $7 million Garfield police station, is also slated to begin. The current headquarters on Midland Avenue, constructed in 1960,  is “woefully undersized” for the 66-member police force and “was built for another era,” City Manager Thomas Duch said. Local police headquarters have become another DMR area of expertise, according to Rosenberg.

Originally, plans were for another architecture firm to design the new Garfield police headquarters. However, city officials gave DMR the job after they were “impressed” by a presentation by Rosenberg, as well as by his design work at the Bergen County Public Safety Operations Center in Mahwah, according to Duch.

“Many of these police stations now are outdated,” Rosenberg said. “They don’t have the current technology. Their facilities are not safe. They’re not habitable.”

Rosenberg said it’s hard to make forecasts for this year, but that he thinks President Trump will be effective helping the business community and stimulating the economy, especially in the tri-state region.

“I hope that he does the things that he said he’s going to do with infrastructure and public work and hospitals and schools,” Rosenberg said. “We do live in his geographic area.”

This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com.

New Jersey firm has a nice book of business thanks to a willingness to both study and influence the industry it serves

New Jersey firm has a nice book of business thanks to a willingness to both study and influence the industry it serves 960 540 DMR Architects

by Richard Massey

DMR Architects of New Jersey has been retained by six law firms in New Jersey and one in California for projects that encompass relocation assistance and retrofit, office expansion, interior renovations, and interior design. How was DMR able to win so much niche work? The firm knows the market.

“Law office redesigns and build-outs are a particularly robust category for architects as firms merge and respond to technology’s influence on their physical locations,” says Lloyd Rosenberg, founder and president of DMR Architects. “Lawyers need less space and less support staff and community uses such as law libraries are being downsized or eliminated. While a large conference room remains an integral asset in most large firms, there also is a need for a cluster of smaller offices so the various sides of contentious or confidential work can be efficiently performed.”

Rosenberg took the time to answer a few questions from The Zweig Letter.

The Zweig Letter: What kind of team do you assemble to win so much of this kind of work?

LR: DMR has built a diverse staff over its 25-year history in response to market needs resulting in our being able to provide professional and urban planning including site analysis, sustainable services, facilitating public-private partnerships, engineering services, interior design, and project management. Our clients appreciate that we can provide so many services seamlessly under one roof as well as the network of colleagues that we can introduce them to in related fields.

TZL: You show a great deal of knowledge about what modern law offices have to have to serve the client. How did you obtain that knowledge?

LR: When we come into a law firm, they are asking us to resolve functional issues. We’ve worked with a lot of law firms, but we’ve also worked with clients in other industries that have similar issues—downsizing and repurposing space, for example—that we’ve been able to convert into relevant solutions for our legal clients.

We also bring in our ability to envision what hasn’t been done yet and use that vision to address a law firm’s current needs in a way that recognizes that they are a distinct entity business with unique issues that require a custom-fit solution.

TZL: What is the trick to winning this kind of work? Marketing, project management, pricing, experience in the field, specialized proposals, etc.?

LR: DMR has staff with skill sets that speak to clients’ needs at every stage of a project; we can be there for site selection and help negotiate with the real estate broker, provide the plans, manage relationships with the builder and other contractors, and take it all the way through to choosing the right paint colors and textures, and design for the furniture. This has been a successful equation for 25 years, earning us both repeat business and referrals from our legal clients.

TZL: What is the market like in this niche field and how long has it been a “hot” market?

LR: Lawyers have clients too, and they don’t want to pay by the hour for unnecessarily large offices, ostentatious furnishing, and oversized windows so that their lawyers can enjoy the view. DMR has seen an uptick in the need for downsizing and redesigning to speak to this. Additionally, similar to the healthcare industry, firms that can afford to are expanding by creating small satellite offices so that clients can see them within their community instead of having to travel larger distances to that firm’s headquarters.

TZL: In general, how does a firm anticipate a trend?

LR: People in our industry trigger the trends by looking at how our clients need to use their space and addressing their new business models in unique and creative ways. When our clients said they were not meeting with clients in their personal offices, and that they were using fewer paralegals, we made the “corner offices” smaller, and provided less room in the “bull pens” in order to make additional conference rooms.

DMR studies the architecture industry as much as we influence it. We are also committed to the continued education of our staff, and are not afraid to take ideas that we’ve seen in other industries and apply them to address needs in legal offices. We’ve taken a lot of the principles that have been applied to revamping marketing firm spaces for millennials and applied them to our legal clients. By doing so, we’ve created an environment that fosters innovation.

This article originally appeared on The Zweig Letter.

Real Estate Forum 2017 Fastest Growing Companies

DMR Named to Real Estate Forum’s Fastest Growing Companies

DMR Named to Real Estate Forum’s Fastest Growing Companies 789 444 DMR Architects

2017 is off to a great start at DMR!

On January 9, Real Estate Forum announced their list of 2016’s Fastest Growing Companies, which included DMR as #10 in the “Small Companies” category. The national publication highlighted firms in the real estate market from across the country.

The ranking was based on both staff and revenue growth, both of which DMR experienced significantly in 2016. At year end, we celebrated a 44% increase in staff size and an 85% increase in revenue from 2015.

How architects can take advantage of economic cycles, even the downturns

How architects can take advantage of economic cycles, even the downturns 960 540 DMR Architects

DMR YMCA Entry View

Lloyd Rosenberg, AIA, president and CEO of Hasbrouck Heights-based DMR Architects has been through several economic cycles, including three recessions, since he started his company in 1991.

Fueled by the recent strength of the construction industry, DMR is celebrating its 25th anniversary with its largest headcount and is recording its highest revenue.

While not immune to economic cycles, the firm has used downturns as strategic thresholds in which it increases market share and adapt to new trends, often diversifying into new practice areas and adding key talent in recessions.

According to Mr. Rosenberg, the firm comes by its counter-intuitive growth strategy as a natural consequence of its beginnings: “In 1991, we only had three people, we couldn’t get any smaller so there was no place to go but up.”

Here are some thoughts on how he’s been able to grow his business through three recessions:

Using a Core Competency to Build a Diversified Practice – and Brand:

DMR’s diversification has many benefits and is the work of an intended strategy that had its roots in a single practice area. Working on various project categories with a wide variety of industries not only insulates the firm against cycles, it also keeps the staff interested and challenged, cross-pollinating the firm. But getting there is another matter — diversified professional practices are grown one piece at a time, and creating adjoining and complementary services, while an intended strategy, is more art than science.

Shortly after Rosenberg founded DMR, it earned the reputation as an esteemed school architect, ultimately serving more than 100 school systems throughout New Jersey. While working with schools, he developed relationships with municipal leaders and recognized there was a need for updated municipal buildings and, in some cases, urban planning, inspiring him to create a team that could address these issues as a cohesive unit.

“New Jersey’s multi-family needs have changed over the past decade, necessitating municipalities to collaborate with architecture firms that can not only create a vision plan for them, but also work them through zoning and other practical issues so that they can become a more sustainable community,” said Fran Reiner, PP, LLA, Senior Urban Designer, who joined DMR in [year].

DMR’s diversification built on its initial strengths in school, articulating out to areas where it could apply its expertise profitably to new client categories.

For example, its assignment for the new 82,000 square foot Meadowlands YMCA (pictured top) includes design, permitting, planning and engineering roles — which are vertical and horizontal integrations of its legacy strength in school projects. Simultaneously, it is the architect for the new High Tech High School, which will be the most advanced high school project in the country.

High Tech High School

Rendering of the new High Tech school.

Keeping clients happy/relationship building:

According to Rosenberg, “You’ve got to listen to what people are saying and convey that you sincerely care about what they need and about helping to find it.”

In South Toms River, DMR helped administrators see that they could get the municipal building that suited their needs for several generations by repurposing a daycare center. It has also recently worked with Hunterdon Medical to convert an office building into a 55,000 square foot satellite medical office, providing more convenient services to its patients in a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Keeping Staff happy:

One of the great things about the culture at DMR is that with so many types of projects, there are constant opportunities for staff to collaborate and learn from each other. It makes each project seem fresh to the staff involved and results in more creative ideas for DMR’s clients.

Rosenberg also strives to create an atmosphere that is more like a peppy family than an office, most recently celebrating its 25th Anniversary year by providing staff with 25 daily surprises including a hot breakfast party, in-house massages and several 3 p.m. sweets breaks. Birthdays are a big to-do throughout the year, and they also celebrate the Winter Holidays yearly with an ugly sweater contest.

His employees appreciates his efforts to create opportunities for professional growth and personal comfort; the staff section of the company web site boasts that more than 13 of the staff have been with Rosenberg for more than 10 years.

“It’s energizing to know that while today, I’m working on the interior redesign of an apartment community, tomorrow, I might be managing the adaptive reuse of an office building into a police station, or assisting a local Community College create a space to accommodate for an entirely new administrative process” said Kurt Vierheilig, AIA, LEED AP, Senior Designer and Project Manager.

The staff’s tenure and experience also support the continuity of service in segments whose robustness occurs in different parts of the economic cycle. In turn, DMR always has the personnel base capable of shifting focus as the client base evolves.

This article originally appeared on Real Estate Weekly.

DMR Architects CEO sees opportunity to grow his firm in China

DMR Architects CEO sees opportunity to grow his firm in China 960 540 DMR Architects

by Joshua Burd

In mid-November, Lloyd Rosenberg was a long way from his home state of New Jersey.

But perhaps it takes that kind of journey to see what he saw during his 10-day trip in China, one that included tours of several breathtaking, historic villages in the southwestern region of the country.

“They were absolutely magnificent,” said Rosenberg, CEO and president of DMR Architects, in Hasbrouck Heights. “They were built on hillsides, built on rivers—it was spectacular.”

For Rosenberg, they are among the lasting images from a trip that could help grow his firm’s presence in China. DMR has since partnered with a Beijing-based architecture firm, Long On Group, in submitting designs for a rail-served 24-acre site in Lishui City that the local government hopes to redevelop.

The proposals, which are due this week, aim to transform the area around a high-speed railway station into a tourism destination that will include hotels, retail, restaurants, entertainment and public ground transportation.

“They’re very aggressive in planning, very aggressive in development, very aggressive in entertainment,” he said. “I would say the biggest thing I saw was the amount of tourism that they’re promoting—internal to China—people in China traveling around to see other parts of their country and be tourists.

“It’s not dissimilar to us.”

But as Rosenberg’s firm gets involved in redevelopment overseas, his trip also allowed him to weigh in on how to preserve China’s history.

This involvement stems largely from Rosenberg’s longtime friendship with James Jao, a fellow architect who once practiced in New York City before moving to Beijing more than 25 years ago. DMR has done consulting work for Jao’s firm, Long On Group, prompting Rosenberg and his staff to visit China several times in recent years.

His most recent visit took place in November, when he was invited to speak at the Qindongnan Conference on Preserving the Traditional Chinese Village. Appearing before some 500 senior government and planning officials, Rosenberg said one of his main objectives was to explain the process of preserving historic buildings and sites in the U.S., with the idea China could adopt such an approach for its own small villages that are exponentially older than anything in his home country.

“We have a method in place that exists that seems to work,” said Rosenberg, who was “honored to be able to speak as a representative of the architectural community” in the U.S. “And if they want to model something, it’s a model that could be replicated.”

Lloyd Rosenberg speaking at the Qindongnan Conference on Preserving the Traditional Chinese Village. – (DMR ARCHITECTS)

He noted that the U.S. approach is often tied to tourism and entertainment, which presents one avenue for preserving China’s older villages as residents leave to pursue education and jobs in more urban areas.

For Rosenberg, the trip was bookended by private tours of villages in southwestern China, including Guiyang, Kaili City, Qiandongnan and Lishui, he said. The journey offered him a different perspective from his previous visits, which were tied to DMR’s master planning work for a 420-acre community in Shanghai’s Xin Jiang Wan township.

That plan included residential housing for 16,000 residents, a pedestrian retail strip, community and recreational facility, school building and office park, Rosenberg said. The project features include streams, rivers, lakes and landscape that connects one back to nature, which he said is at the heart of the Chinese culture.

It’s an example of the importance of towing the line between redevelopment and preservation in China, a dynamic that DMR Architects now has in mind as it seeks to do work in Lishui City and elsewhere.

“The Chinese people have a history that they’re proud of and they want to maintain that,” Rosenberg said. “They’re very proud of their history, they’re proud of their nationality and their culture and they want to visit the new and the old in China, so they want to visit new places that are being developed and they want to visit the old places that go back to their ancestors.”

This article originally appeared on NJBiz.