Trenton Watch Factory

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Client Ajax Management
Location Trenton, NJ
Scope 13,400 SF

In the early 20th Century, the city of Trenton was the center of watchmaking in America.

By the middle of the century, much of that industry had vanished. The Trenton Watch Factory, which manufactured various timepieces, closed in the 1950s and was subsequently converted into apartments. In 2015, Ajax Management bought the historical landmark and asked us to reimagine it.

Ajax asked us to design a new front entrance and facade, as well as the atrium space inside the former factory. We relocated the entrance away from its original position, added a Corten steel canopy and a poured-in-place concrete wall to accentuate the new front door. We also covered the existing entrance facade in new gray fiber-cement panels to give the building an updated contemporary feel.


We designed a new geometric, plywood tunnel that leads from the entrance into the building and out to the atrium. The tunnel is illuminated by vertical cut-outs that scatter beams of light off the angled wood walls and polished concrete floors. The tunnel compresses the space around you and then opens up as one enters the atrium.

In the end, we were to create an entirely new focal point for the building that added both interest and intrigue to the user experience.