Before joining MBS as a Design Arts teacher in 2019, Matt Martino was a practicing architect with NK Architects who served as lead designer and project manager for several buildings on the Morristown Beard School campus. Recently, his final project with NK Architects — a classroom building on the Kean University Skylands eco-campus — won a Gold Award from the Newark and Essex Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and will now move on to the state AIA chapter.
“It’s a nice accomplishment to be nominated and win gold as evaluated by my peer architects. This was a special building for me. I’m proud of it and the legacy I left with my former office,” said Martino.
Martino served as the team leader, lead designer and project manager for the “classroom in the trees,” which is part of a larger project on Kean’s Skylands campus in Jefferson, NJ. This one-of-a-kind building is accessible from a raised canopy walkway 35 feet above the ground that meets the building at the 4th floor. Martino also designed the interiors and managed 75 percent of the building’s construction phase before leaving the firm to join MBS.
“One of the most important aspects of the building for me is that it is an ‘honest’ building,” said Martino. “I mean that in respect to the materials used are what they are through and through. For example, the building structure is exposed and celebrated. The building’s structural steel is treated as a feature instead of being hidden behind walls. Interior and exterior materials are solid wood or solid metal instead of being composite materials that are meant to fool the observer.”
During his career at NK Architects, Martino also served as lead designer and project manager for Morristown Beard School’s Center for Innovation & Design (CID) as well as the Math & Science Center and the renovation of Wilkie Hall.