Merit Award

The Foundry

  • Year: 2023
  • Entry Categories: Multifamily/Mixed-Use – Over 50 Units

The Foundry

The Foundry successfully converts an obsolete 13-story, 600,000-square foot office building and into a meaningful 16-story mixed-use, multi-family building with 520 units, 25,000 SF of retail, parking, and significant amenities. Well-sited, the existing building is in Alexandria VA, one block away from the Eisenhower Avenue Metro stop, adjacent to the interstate.

The office building floorplate was nearly 47,000 sf 46,376 SF and 124’ deep x 374’ long, not intended for a typical double-loaded corridor seen in efficient multi-family developments. Fitting the required residential unit mix within the existing 20’ x 20’ column bays was a challenge solved by integrating both a façade and plan solution to allow for narrower units. Unique amenities, such as grocery cart storage, commercial dryers, and rentable storage units, were used to occupy core building area leftover from extra elevator shafts and utilities.

Small windows and an antiquated mechanical system led to the complete replacement of the skin and HVAC. Ultimately, a brick-faced precast concrete skin was selected over a traditional masonry wall, saving time and dollars on the overall schedule. Larger windows and exposed structure provided more daylight and taller volumes than others in this market.

With the original five-acre surface parking lot designated for the office building sold to another developer, the development needed to find additional parking. The design team studied the capacity of the existing structural system and was able to convert three levels of existing office floors into parking.

Working with the City and the neighboring development, the team was able to create a new retail place and sidewalk on Mandeville Street. The cross-section was modified, widening the sidewalk from 6’ to 18’. Thus, recognizing the future synergy that could be created in an underserved area, with significant future development on both sides of the street. The neighboring block’s development includes a Wegmans grocery store and new retail plaza, which creates synergies with a movie theater and restaurants to the south. Retail was also introduced to the base of The Foundry will support this activity, as well as provide transparency via a double-sided lobby.

Designed before the coronavirus pandemic, the facility’s outdoor spaces are valuable open-air opportunities for recreation, relaxation, and socialization. Interior amenities including a sports bar and game room spread across two levels at the property, a workshop room, and two rooftop entertaining spaces with views of the nearby Masonic Temple and historic Old Town Alexandria. Outdoor spaces feature landscaping with a partially covered terrace and other intimate gathering areas surrounding an outdoor kitchen, as well as a pool.

Designed to meet LEED certification, the development overachieves in it’s life cycle assessment by virtue of the extent of reused materials and resources, significantly reducing its carbon footprint.

  • FirmCooper Carry, Inc.
  • Project LocationAlexandria, Virginia
  • Completion DateJuly 28, 2020
  • OwnerPerseus TDC
  • Architects and Designers Design Principal: Stephen M. Smith, AIA
    Project Manager: Heidi Leinbach, AIA
    Staff Architect: Heba Bella
  • Civil EngineerChristopher Consultants
  • MEP EngineerThe Integrated Companies
  • Structural EngineerSK&A
  • Landscape ArchitectChristopher Consultants
  • General ContractorBalfour Beatty Construction
  • Additional ConsultantsStudios (Public space interiors)
    Jensen Hughes (Life safety)
    Polysonics (Acoustics)
    Richter & Associates (Utilities)
    Curtain Wall Design & Consulting, Inc. (Waterproofing/curtainwall)
  • PhotographyJudy Davis, Architectural Photographer