As one of America’s oldest industrial sites, Chesterfield County has been the site of several centuries of industrial development beginning with coal and ore mining in the late 17th century. What would have happened if a late 17th-century industrial village had been developed, then abandoned, only to be reclaimed many decades later and resurrected as a new office and retail environment. This interest in the County’s original built heritage was considered as the Millworks project was designed and developed. The first four buildings of this development, now complete, embody the use of the design vocabulary, scale, and materials that might well have been found in such a place, combined with many of the materials and amenities that would have been added in its modern redevelopment.
In addition to designing to this historical context, the development team has successfully connected the Millworks with its surrounding neighbors, by making as its centerpiece a landscaped public plaza which provides a pedestrian-friendly connection between the Millworks buildings and the existing Midlothian branch library, Woolridge Road, the Midlothian YMCA and the nearby Midlothian Mines Historical Park. As the Millworks’ future phases are completed, additional amenities, such as a 450 seat amphitheater on the edge of a nine-acre lake, will further reinforce the development’s connection to the surrounding community.
Each building within the Millworks is truly unique. While all of the buildings share brick and stone as common materials, the use of pre-cast stone, metal siding and exposed steel in select applications, combined with unique window patterns and floor plate designs gives each building a distinct personality.