Anice Hoachlander

Bonstra | Haresign Architects undertook a project transforming two 14-story 1980s brutalist office buildings in Alexandria, Virginia, into a multifamily residential community. The design team sought to preserve the existing concrete structure and exterior precast panels of both buildings while improving the building envelope performance and re-imagining hard exterior surfaces and underused parking areas into attractive amenity spaces for residents and the general public.

By reusing the concrete frame structure of the buildings, including a partially below-grade parking structure, and a portion of the precast exterior cladding during the renovation, the architects averted a significant amount of construction waste, and greater than half of the embedded construction energy was saved and put back into production. Bonstra | Haresign Architects also replaced low-performing curtain walls with colored eco-window walls and repainted the existing panels of the building to transform the exterior appearance.

Anice Hoachlander

The residential community, Park + Ford, features 435 residential units, the existing parking levels, and a child care facility. Common area bathrooms in the office building were reconstructed into apartments with 180-degree vistas across the community. Over 30% of the units feature either private balconies connected to the exterior concrete slabs or ground-level terraces. Units have floor-to-ceiling windows, with units on upper floors providing residents with views into Washington, D.C.

Each unit features LED lighting and Energy Star appliances, water-saving plumbing fixtures, individual electric meters, and heat pumps. High-efficiency dedicated outdoor air systems provide fresh air for common areas to improve the overall operating energy efficiency of both buildings. The target market audience for the building is young professionals, working couples, and matured singles who are both mass-transit and car-oriented individuals.

Interior amenities at Park + Ford include an entry lobby with a coffee bar, a fitness center, a children’s playroom, a clubroom, a social lounge, a game simulator, a conservatory, co-working spaces, a dog wash station, and a private rental dining space. On the exterior, an existing parking area at the front of the Park building was re-imagined as a communal terrace with misting stations, feature fountain walls, cabanas, grilling areas, and turfed surfaces. A sunken parking court became a water feature surrounded by greenery, while street-level surface parking was transformed into a dog park for residents.

During the process of the renovation, the building was brought up to the 2015 International Building Code, resulting in an over 40% improvement in energy performance, according to the architect.