The New Jersey State House and State House Annex
The New Jersey State House, begun in 1792, is the second oldest State House in the United States in continuous use. Work at the State House began with the preparation of restoration studies for the Assembly and Senate Chambers, a Legislative Space Study, and an Executive Space Study.* Shortly thereafter, the Executive and Legislative branches engaged the architects, in joint venture with Johnson/Jones Architects, to undertake a Master Plan for renovations. The Master Plan was implemented in phases, beginning with the design of temporary quarters for the Legislature in the State House Annex, and included the restoration of the Assembly and Senate Chambers. The project presented the architects with a unique opportunity to study and reinterpret for the public a collection of spectacular historic spaces, representing a variety of architectural periods. It also allowed the building to be updated to current safety and energy codes that better supported the functions of a modern state government.
The State House Annex, a 160,000 square foot, neoclassical structure, was built in 1928-31. Initially, the architects renovated the Annex to serve as the temporary home of the legislature during the restoration of the State House. Once the State House work was completed, attention was focused on the Annex. Its great hall (the former State Museum), main reading room of the former State Library, and grand courtrooms were restored for use as legislative committee meeting rooms. The project encompassed restoration of walnut paneling, travertine floors and wainscot, decorative plasterwork, and decorative paint schemes. In addition, all building systems were modernized and the roof replaced.
*M+Sa principals led the restoration effort at the State House, working as Short and Ford Architects.