Our client, JCR Companies, purchased a four story, historic building in the heart of Old Town Alexandria and approached Lancaster Architects to renovate the asset. We developed a plan that updated the building both functionally and aesthetically, targeting overall building performance and energy efficiency, while revealing layers of history and narrative.
We stripped out layers of worn finishes while exposing the original structure in places to create an environment that is both contemporary and respectful of a vibrant colonial past. Research at the Alexandria archives revealed that this site had been the workshop and showroom of a prominent furniture maker, John Muir, and was one of the older structures in Old Town. Working in tandem with our talented graphic design and branding team, we developed a new identity package as the J. Muir Building, including exterior awning and lighting, new brass signage, and historic artwork. We selected images from the archives featuring the the building’s earlier incarnations and street scenes from the past century.
On the interior, contemporary touches include a custom reception desk with LED lighting, modern acoustic upgrades, artisinal furniture crafted from old timber, energy efficient fixtures, and a handsome finish scheme derived from classic menswear fabrics. The final product presents an interplay of textures, from old to new, from rough hewn edges of old timber, to smooth polished white marble. The J Muir building now blends history and innovation, tradition and high performance.