Life can change drastically and quickly. Some recent events have forced me and my fiance to move to a new city, start a new job, and start life anew.
This move has made me more familiar than ever with the new trend of adaptive reuse projects sprinkled throughout New England; The most common example being manufacturing mill turned luxury loft living.
These buildings tell a story of the regions manufacturing wealth and prosperity. They symbolize both the tremendous opportunities of the past and the pain and desperation that was left behind when manufacturing found their way over seas. Communities have struggled slowly rebuild, and these buildings, abandoned for years, have been waiting for someone to come up with a creative reinterpretation.
People have taken note of the beauty and integrity of these old mills and mill communities. Architecturally speaking these buildings challenge the best of modern building technology. They are often over a 150 years old and show very little wear for their age.
The insulating properties of 16 +/- inches of brick cannot be missed. In March, even while snowing outside we did not had to turn our heat on in New England!! I still cannot believe it…frankly it is far far better than I thought reasonable to estimate. For comparison we moved from an apartment 60 mi south, with a slightly milder climate and usually had an electric bill of $160 the month of March. So, for all you who love Green design, take note. Green design is not about gadgets and technology. It is about what makes sense and lasts the longest, i.e. never ending in a landfill!
I challenge you to think for one second about how our ‘modern’ stick frame vinyl siding homes will measure up in 100 years? 50? 30? 20?
In the end I have fallen in love with mill living, and could probably write a short essay on all the benefits and joys of waking up to 14ft ceilings, 8ft windows, surrounded by the warmth and texture of wood and brick. The purity is refreshing; the history is utterly captivating.