By Meredith Napolitano Stettner
Hoboken architect Janine Glatt is an award-winning architectural designer whose designs have been featured in Cottages & Bungalows magazine and Design New Jersey. The small firm integrates spaces in an organic, minimalist way with each project’s unique site and function as a guide.
Where did you grow up and what made you know you wanted to be an architect?
I am fourth generation Hoboken born and raised. I became interested in architecture after touring the Baroque castles of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland in high school. When I went to college at NYU I took an Architecture history class and decided to become an Architect. I transferred to Pratt to begin my studies and then went to NJIT upon discovering their growing computer department. It was at NJIT that I finished my degree.
What challenges do you face woking within spaces in Hudson County and how do you plan accordingly?
There are certainly some design challenges to working in Hudson County. The houses are narrow and dark and it takes some creativity to open up those spaces and give the clients a sense of light and openness without over-cluttering the design. However, I find that challenge exhilarating and it gives me a chance to grow as an artist with each project no matter how small.
Can you talk a bit about the Jersey City townhouse featured in Cottages and Bungalows?
The Jersey City Townhouse that was in Cottages and Bungalows was a historic building in a historic district. We could only renovate the interior. The only thing we left unchanged in the interior was the stairs, the skylight, and some doors. I thought it would be interesting to go with something classical like a Palladian villa plan by incorporating a circular room in the center of the floor plan. The kitchen opens up to the yard with a small deck for outdoor dining. I worked closely with the owner in the design of the kitchen. She was a trained chef and wanted to make that space open, filled with light and yet functional.
Tell me a bit about your Hoboken Loft project?
The Hoboken loft was my favorite project so far. The couple was receptive to a modern design. It was nice to have a large open central space for the family. The curve connected the two entrances to the Kitchen, Living Room and Dining Area. The curved walls were supposed to be glass walls that brought some light into the center space. Instead, it was changed to a clerestory of plastic at the tops of the walls.
With the Jersey City roof deck project, what was different about focusing on an outdoor space vs. interior when you did a roof deck?
The Jersey City Roof Deck had a backyard that was very quiet and lush. There were a lot of trees that were close to the roof so there was a lot of privacy. The couple wanted a trellis with a swing and a seating area. The footprint was based on the actual space that was there. Designing outdoor spaces are very similar to interior spaces. You always want some connection to the outside. Ideally, you would want the outdoor spaces to be integrated to the interior spaces even in the city. I recently designed a hallway that framed the rear yard trees on one side and visually connected it to the front room with a barrel vaulted ceiling. The house was very shallow so it did make a difference on the interior. Another house that’s be-ing built now has a kitchen in the rear of the building that has a window wall that entirely opens up to the rear yard with a small deck. Light is also a natural element so having it in strategic places also makes a reference to nature in the inside of the home.
What are some recent projects around JC/Hoboken you are particularly happy with?
I like projects that retain some of the history of what was there before. Projects by other Architects such as the Vestry, on 8th and Bloomfield, and the church & residences at 707 Willow are both projects that are of modern construction but at the same time keep their old façades. I always find this contrast of the old and new together appealing. The designs of the mixed use – mid-rises in Hoboken are also very inventive. Their sleek modern looks add to the character of the neighborhood by using the same materials of the existing row houses.
When it comes to building/renovation in Hudson County, where do you see things going?
There seems to be a lot of renovations of Row houses in both Hoboken and Jersey City, both single and multi- family. I think the future of Hudson County is bright in terms of development with many families continuing to move into the county and not being shy about redesigning their buildings into the homes of their dreams. I believe there are many opportunities for our profession in the near and long-term future here.