NJIT Alum Named Partner at DMR Architects

Written by: Shydale James,
A rendering of a media center designed by NJIT alum and DMR Architects partner Kurt Vierheilig ’99
“NJIT has always been a leader in educating, inspiring and preparing architects for the real world."

NJIT alum Kurt Vierheilig ’99 has been named one of five new partners at DMR Architects, the fourth-largest architecture firm in New Jersey.

Vierheilig, who joined DMR in 1999 after earning a B.Arch. at the College of Architecture and Design (CoAD), leads the creative design studio, where he oversees and works in close collaboration with a team of designers tackling large project renovations.

The naming of partners is a first for the 25-year-old, award-winning Hasbrouck Heights-headquartered firm, which saw nearly an 80 percent increase in revenue in 2016. 

“I’ve been at DMR for 17 years,” said Vierheilig. “During that time, I’ve been involved in all aspects of operations, and running the firm in different ways. As partner, I’ll continue to develop and deliver great projects and be more involved with expanding our client base and market sectors.”

Vierheilig designed the rail station at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in Secaucus.

Lloyd Rosenberg, founder and chief executive of DMR, saluted Vierheilig and his fellow colleagues as “a team that has bought into an ethic that lets us deliver a high standard of performance over a broad platform of service. Our new partners have made enormous contributions in that regard, and I am proud to share the firm with them.”

But it was the Midland Park, N.J., native’s decision to study architecture at NJIT more than two decades ago that would pave the way for his resplendent career and chart the course for his ascent to partner at the respected full-service architecture firm.

“I lived on campus. Actually, I should say, I lived in the architecture building,” he laughed, referring to NJIT’s five-year, studio-centric B.Arch. degree program, known for its challenging curriculum. “But you have to live it. You have to be in it everyday. Living on campus was an important part of my school experience and helped me build comradeship.”

While the course load was heavy, Vierheilig was buoyed by the well-balanced education he received as a Highlander.

“NJIT has always been a leader in educating, inspiring and preparing architects for the real world,” said Vierheilig, who participated in student enrichment activities as a member of the American Institute of Architecture Students. "The faculty focuses on the relevant issues in the profession, while foreseeing the future — and teaches that to the students. I was exposed to the creative side and the technical side. That kind of variety truly benefited me.”

Today, Vierheilig is credited with growing DMR’s multifamily practice division and designs prominent projects like the Rail Station at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in Secaucus.

“That one is special to me,” he said of the major commuter rail hub. “Typically, as a designer, you draw and someone else develops, but I was involved in every aspect — the design, the proposal, the production, the construction process; I attended every meeting. I had the opportunity to see that project through, from beginning to end.”

A rendering of La Scuola d’Italia’s future media center, currently under construction in New York City

Currently under construction in neighboring Manhattan is a 100,000-square-foot building that will house La Scuola d’Italia, an Italian bilingual Pre-K-12 school. The top-to-bottom renovation includes a performance auditorium space on the upper floor and a column-free gymnasium in the basement, which required removing the pillars that bolster the 11 floors overhead.

“We installed two 100-foot-long trusses, which are one-story-tall, into the building to transfer the load,” explained Vierheilig. “We then incorporated this expressive structural element into their media center as well. Now these trusses aren’t just part of the structure to support the building but have become an integral part of the space.”

Although the foundation for his success is due in no small part to the countless hours of study and studio time he put in at NJIT, it’s Vierheilig’s enduring pursuit of knowledge and steadfast resolve to expand his horizons that beget his most extraordinary achievements.

It’s a practice he hopes future CoAD graduates will embrace.

“No matter how big or how small, always take the opportunity to work on something new — even if it’s out of your comfort zone or something you haven’t done before,” he said. “I’ve always found the best way to learn something is to be challenged. Challenge yourself. You’ll be amazed by what happens.”