Kimmerle Group is an architectural design and real estate planning and development firm based in Harding Township.
Several years back, an architecture firm that constructs modern concrete and steel buildings in the state’s urban corridors moved to a headquarters near a historic farm, an office created around a wooden frame built by Amish carpenters.
Kimmerle Group’s headquarters at 1109 Mt. Kemble Ave. may seem like a contradiction, but the firm’s leaders clearly believe in setting an example in adaptive reuse design and being as environmentally friendly as humanly possible — and that these qualities are more than a passing trend in architecture.
The 8,500-square-foot headquarters was rebuilt from a smaller building, one originally built in the ’70s that was nestled up next to the more than 90-year-old Wightman’s Farm. Parts from that building were reused — raised-panel mahogany doors, side lights and trim from that original interior are scattered throughout the new office — alongside locally sourced building materials. Amish carpenters were recruited to raise a barn-like frame that supports the structure and gives it the same rural aesthetic of its agricultural surroundings.
Of course, Kimmerle Group’s professionals are able to enjoy the outdoors (when the weather holds up), on a 1,500-square-foot open deck (there’s a giant glass roll-up door providing views when it doesn’t). The deck has couches, picnic tables and a grill. Inside, employees have access to a fully stocked kitchen with fresh groceries delivered each week, along with a shower room, and an exercise corner with a treadmill, weights and bike racks. It’s all in an effort to make the office into a sort of rural retreat for the company’s professionals, busy as it can be to design towering buildings far from the Garden State’s greener parts.
The facility does some serious heavy lifting in the sustainability department, including, among many other things, utilizing low-flow plumbing features that reduce water usage by about half as well as a system that collects and redistributes rainwater to planting beds. The building also has geothermal heating and cooling that draws on the site itself for its operations — tapping the sun’s energy for the building’s hot water supply.
Besides the more obvious perks of energy-efficiency, a lot of the firm’s expertise today lies in sustainable building design, so having a strong tangible example of this in the firm’s own base is as good an advertisement as any for that specialty.