Richard Garber, AIA, an associate professor at NJIT’s College of Architecture and Design, teaches design studios and directs a unique design and manufacturing laboratory, the FABLAB. His work uses computer simulation and computer numerically-controlled hardware to generate innovative design, construction, and assembly solutions. He is also principal of the New York City architectural firm GRO Architects.
Garber and his partner at GRO Nicole Robertson were each named one of 32 new faces of design in the December 2010 issue of Dwell magazine. Under the heading “bright young things” the magazine writes, “Take this as a roadmap to the stars of the future, not just in this particular issue of Dwell, but in your design perambulations of the next 20-odd years.” The article opens using a precast concrete house, called PREttyFAB, which Garber and Robertson designed. The feature is Dwell’s version of the typical “40 under 40” which often appears on newsstands in December featuring up-and-coming people in industries ranging from business to architecture.
The accolade stems from Garber’s whole body of work, but especially features PREttyFAB, the one-family sustainable house in the Greenville section of Jersey City. Designing the 1600-square-foot, pre-fabricated, high-performance house was not easy. “We were asked to set it on a 22-foot-wide by 54-foot-deep, undersized lot, a vacant, derelict piece of land, overcome with weeds,” said Garber. The budget was small and the client wanted the home to resemble none other on a block of undistinguishable, two-story, once wood-frame, now aluminum-sided, structures. “It’s always a challenge when you come in with plans for a house that looks like nothing else on the street,” he added.
In May 2010, PREttyFAB received Jersey City’s Project of the Year Award from the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency. The New Jersey Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), of which Garber is a member, also honored it with a Merit Award in the fall of 2009.
The award comes upon the heels of yet more confirmation of Garber’s work. In July 2009, Metropolis Magazine named GRO Architects a “Next Gen Notable” for its docking station proposal. The scheme envisioned a series of publicly accessible floating extensions from Manhattan into the Hudson and East rivers to power city street lamps by harnessing river currents. The project, recently revised, was exhibited in July 2011 at the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance's annual City of Water Day. Garber was guest-editor of Closing the Gap: Information Models in Contemporary Design Practice (2009), an edition of Architectural Design (AD) by John Wiley & Sons.
In 2007, GRO Architects won re:Construction, a design competition sponsored by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Fabricated in the FABLAB, the resulting work, “Best Pedestrian Route,” was installed at the corner of Broadway and John Street in Lower Manhattan. In 2008, the same project won an New York City AIA Merit Award and a NY Designs Award from the Architectural League of New York. His writing and design work has been published in the New York Times, the Star Ledger, Architectural Record, the Architect’s Newspaper, Art News, Azure, and Metropolis.
Garber was the Emerging Architect Visiting Assistant Professor at Barnard College in 2007 with Robertson. He holds architecture degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Columbia University.
Topics: architecture, digital fabrication, fablab, computer simulation, traditional architectural design
Last update: July 21, 2011