We recently had the chance to visit the Bell Labs Complex in Holmdel, New Jersey. Designed by Eero Saarinen and completed in 1962, this is definitely one of the coolest mid-century commercial structures in the country. While most people know Saarinen's iconic Tulip Table and Chairs, or are familiar with the TWA Flight Center, the Bell Labs Complex is a lesser-known gem. However, it's unlikely to stay that way for long!
The Bell Labs Complex was abandoned and sat empty for years, but it is undergoing a serious restoration. Best of all, it really looks like the restoration is staying true to Saarinen's vision for the structure. When you enter through the cantilevered entrance, a sunken reception area awaits. An enormous inner courtyard/atrium has been given 21st century life thanks to glass that allows natural light in, but also generates energy for the complex.
As of March 2017, construction is ongoing. However, some tenants are already in place. There's also a small cafe where you can grab a coffee and check out displays depicting the original building and some notable occupants over time - there were more than a few Nobel Prize winners that had offices in this inspiring space.
Don't let the construction discourage you from visiting - the lack of crowds means that this could be your only opportunity to see the complex in a relatively empty state. In the future, there are plans for more businesses, shops and even a hotel. We'll definitely be back to see what is now known as Bell Works in its finished glory.