Bellows Falls Garage

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Clients Location

Bellows Falls, VT


31,871 SF

Category Sustainability Features
  • •PV solar panels

  • •High performance building envelope

  • •EV charging station

  • •Re-use of building components

  • •Brownfield remediation

Consultants Photographers

A Village’s Historic “Gateway” is Made Anew

The recently completed Bellows Falls Garage project was originally conceived by Windham and Windsor Housing Trust as the adaptive reuse of an historic 1920s industrial building in downtown Bellows Falls to create much needed affordable housing, as well as commercial space.  When the initial effort to save the existing concrete structure was realized to be cost prohibitive, a new plan was made to rebuild the Bellows Falls Garage and reuse some of the original components including concrete slabs, footings, and utility connections.

The new, highly energy efficient building’s facade replicates the historic one on Rockingham Street while at the other elevations, the use of large multi-paned windows echoes the structure’s original incarnation.  Views and ample daylight are some of the building’s greatest assets, contributing to a feeling of spaciousness in the units.  Every room has unique views of the Connecticut River with its locks, bridges, and canals; the mountains beyond; and the surrounding downtown.  Given the industrial nature of the village, special attention was paid to the noise from train traffic through rigorous acoustic isolation, and residents have found their spaces to be surprisingly quiet.

The final design includes street level commercial space plus 27 apartments of mixed income housing, including accessible units.  The apartments range from studio to one and two bedrooms, with 6 units set aside to support community members transitioning from homelessness.  Shared spaces include a community / reading room, a laundry room, and a generous lobby with mailboxes.