Adaptive Reuse and Restoration of a Historic Building Features 57 Modern Lofts

Adaptive Reuse and Restoration of a Historic Building Features 57 Modern Lofts

Architects: The Architectural Team
Project: Yarn Works – Restoration of a Historic Building
Location Fitchburg, Massachusetts, United States
Area 182500.0 ft2
Project Year 2017
Photography: Andy Ryan, Gregg Shupe

The 100+ year-old Nockege River Mill Building, formerly home to the Fitchburg Yarn Company, is situated on 7.4 acres on the banks of the Nashua River. Its 182,500 square feet spans three massive floors.

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The thoughtful adaptive reuse and restoration of the historic building structure features 57 oversized, modern lofts market-rate units – boasting more than 280, 8-foot by 10-foot windows to provide each unit with expansive views and an abundance of natural light – of which 39 of the units are affordable.

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The redesign includes a community space, exposed brick walls, a fitness center with yoga room and a grand central atrium gallery. The original mill design allowed river water to flow through its partial earthen basement – the design team removed the first-floor wood deck and rebuild it with concrete slab, 27” higher than the existing floor, raising it above the 100-year floodplain.

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Other restoration work includes repointing and repairing the exterior brick envelope and chimney stack and structural reinforcement to the roof. The original mill was built in just five months at a cost of $600,000 using a unique wood and steel I-beam configuration. Building materials included two million bricks, one million board feet of lumber, 500 tons of steel, 7,000 tons of granite, 18 freight car loads of cement and 2,000 barrels of lime. It was one of the city’s 16 textile manufacturers that once thrived in Fitchburg, beginning in the early 20th century. Yarn Works has been nominated by the State Historical Commission to the paced on the National Register of Historic Places.

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