Bridgeport Renaissance Draws Architects to City


Within a few blocks of their new offices, Paul Antinozzi and George Perham can see some of the landmark Bridgeport buildings their firm helped develop. There’s the railroad station, a courthouse, schools, offices, and a church. And there are new projects their architectural firm is creating – clear evidence of the ongoing revitalization in downtown Bridgeport.

For the 30-member staff of Antinozzi Associates, bringing a new spark to downtown Bridgeport is considerably more than just talk.

Celebrating its 50th year, the firm that helped create many landmark buildings throughout the region today announced that it has completed its own move to new offices in downtown Bridgeport.

The new offices are located in a former ballroom and balcony on the second floor of what once was the landmark Bijou Theater on Fairfield Avenue.

“Both the Bijou and the ballroom are coming alive again,” said Paul Antinozzi, “just as the rest of Bridgeport is entering a renaissance that will see the restoration and revitalization of many more buildings in our city’s center.”

The first floor of the building housing the former Bijou Theater also is being renovated to house a movie theater and new restaurants.

Antinozzi Associates invested more than $700,000 to convert the former ballroom, first constructed in 1908, into a modern showpiece encompassing 11,700 square feet and a 36-foot high, two-story, open-air workplace. The original balcony surrounding the main area also has been restored for workstations that will house the architectural and interior design staff – as have lighting fixtures and other details, giving the space resonance and intimacy juxtaposed against the large open area.

“Our design will promote project collaboration by increasing interaction and the exchange of ideas,” said George Perham, vice president of the firm. “It will help stimulate creativity and innovation – and it will give our clients a living example of the productivity potential of an exciting design.”

“Our design goal was to maintain the feel of openness of the ballroom when you first enter our studio, as well as while you are within it,” continued Perham. “We have accomplished this by not building any solid walls or having any workstations higher then 42″. This will also add to the interaction we are trying to create for our staff.”

“As the firm grew in recent years, it became increasingly clear that we had to expand to larger quarters,” said Paul Antinozzi. “Bridgeport seemed to be the logical new location for us.”

“Our new location will also allow us to expand our commitment to the community,” he said, “particularly through the ACE Mentor program and ‘Canstruction®.’ With our additional space, it will be easier to support these programs, helping young people learn about careers in architecture, engineering and construction.”

Daniel Antinozzi, started the firm in 1956 when he moved to the community from New Jersey. His early focus was on church architecture. The firm expanded its scope to design a wide range of other buildings including schools, banks, corporate offices, multi-family housing and municipal buildings. Antinozzi Associates later designed Bridgeport’s railroad station, Trumbull High School, Stratford’s new fire station, the North End and South End Elementary Schools in Bridgeport, slated to be open in 2008 and, most recently, State of Connecticut Judicial offices in Bridgeport.

Presently, the firm is designing a five story retail/condominium project adjacent to the Bijou Theater building for their landlord Phil Kuchma. This project will continue the retail storefront of the Café Roma, Bijou Theater and Two Boots Restaurant all the way over to Lafayette Boulevard Corner.

“Now that we have the space to expand, we anticipate adding about 10 new professionals to our team over the next year,” Antinozzi said. “We have high hopes that our move will help others take a new look at the city and considering expanding here as well. It is a great time for any business to move to downtown Bridgeport.”

Article by Michael London

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