Every year our office organizes a day trip, in which we get to spend a Friday outside the office and discover new architecture gems in the surrounding area, while getting to know each other better.
This year it was no different from the others and we had a very well-organized trip in the State of New Jersey. We met each other at the office early in the morning, where the bus was waiting for us. We started our day with bagels and mimosas and we were set and ready to go. What a fantastic way to start your day!
Our first stop was a surprise until the very last moment and I have to say that I had no idea this place even existed in New Jersey. Our first visit was at Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, located in Robbinsville, New Jersey. This was the second hindu temple I have ever visitied after the one in London. It’s considered to become the world’s largest hindu temple. Part of the building was still under construction, but the temple area was finished and absolutely stunning! The reason why this one was different from the first one I had visited, resides mainly in the fact that the temple was located inside another building, just like the Russian dolls, one building inside the other. The main reason being the weather, in which the temple is protected from the exterior environment. It’s an impressive architectural masterpiece, made entirely of a beautiful hand-carved marble.
After we contemplated the temple and its history we headed towards Princeton, New Jersey. Once in Princeton we had a reservation at Triumph Brewing Company where we had lunch together. Such a great opportunity to strike up a conversation with people from the office.
The trip continued with a 2 and 1/2 hours tour of Princeton and the campus of Princeton University, learning more about the history and architecture of the place. It’s considered to be the fourth-oldest college in the United States. People here feel very proud of their town, and especially of their university. It’s quite impressive to see a place that resembles the Oxford University. The truth is that it was built in purpose to look like a prestigious British university, even though it was build in a different time from one another. While the Oxford University was founded in 1096, Princeton University was founded in 1764. Both of them sharing a similar style and characteristics. Some say the landscape here is older than the United States itself.
One of the most remarkable buildings at Princeton University is Nassau Hall, the largest stone building at the time it was completed. It’s a Georgia Colonial Style building that is known as the oldest building in campus. While exploring the campus, we had a stop at the Firestone Library and the Princeton University Chapel. With the pictoresque campus during Fall the walkin tour was even more delighteful.
Last but not least, we finished our tour with a visit to the Lewis Center for the Arts and another quick stop by the Lewis Library, designed by Frank Ghery. In his words: ”Scientists who are focused on complex issues may find that the abstract landscape of the building will stimulate their imagination and perhaps lead them to thinking outside the box.” The design of the Lewis Center for the Arts is quite outstanding for having the classrooms in suspended wood boxes that can be visible from the outside through the glass facade. Once inside you can see those boxes floating at different levels. Just like the temple mentioned earlier, this is another great example of boxes inside a bigger box.
All in all, it was a wonderful trip that ended with a last stop at The Alchemist & Barrister, where we had drinks, pretzels and lots of laughs. It was an enriching experience and a trully valuable time spent together while discovering some of the wonders of New Jersey.