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Mount Vernon Mill No. 1

Alexander Design Studio

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  • Charles Alexander

Project Status



103,315 sq. feet




Design Awards

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Project Description

A highly constrained and river bisected site required a highly complex but elegant design solution. With no available exterior options, parking within the building was complicated by inefficient existing column spacing and high floor to floor heights. The solution inserts a multi-level garage creating three levels where there was only two. A new structural grid based on efficient horizontal and vertical parking dimensions was interlaced within the historical structure up to the transfer level, with the historic fabric then removed to create the volume for the garage Because a single bridge was the only egress from the Warehouse Building on the other side of the river and a rail line prevents any other exits, a new bridge was hung between the primary buildings. The residential units are uniquely varied based on their location within the mill. The first two levels which wrap the garage are primarily one-bedroom and studio units that alternate to allow all columns and beams to be exposed within the units. The third floor units take advantage of the full depth of the mill above the garage and are primarily duplex lofts extending up into the exposed heavy timber trusses of the roof. Inverted duplex units at the very top consist of sky lit bedrooms in the attic below living areas in the all-glazed clerestory. The limited usable site area around the complex contains a vanishing edge pool that overlooks the falls, a courtyard for public river access and special events, and dinning patios for the two restaurants that occupy the lowest level. Despite the enormous challenges of redevelopment, the end result is a vibrant multi-use project steeped in history and reconnecting a stunning site back to the urban community in which it sits.
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