The design of new residential buildings and the rehabilitation of major historic mill structures at Exeter Mill, on a river front site a quarter of a mile long, presented extraordinary challenges and opportunities. The opportunities lay in the essential character of the existing buildings- generous floor areas, rich weathered brick, massive wood beams and decking. The challenges lay in the need to humanize the scale of the entire complex and turn a long neglected stretch of industrial waterfront into a residential district integrated with downtown Exeter.
Every aspect of the site plan, landscaping, new building design and rehabilitation program was reviewed and approved by the National Park Service in obtaining Historic Certification for the project. Non-contributory later additions were removed so that the earlier masonry structures became clearly articulated; new buildings were sited to take maximum advantage of river views and to create a series of outdoor spaces within the complex. In scale, forms and materials the new structures evoke the industrial tradition while serving to integrate the development with its neighborhood. The 140 units vary widely in layout and character depending upon location and views; concealed interior parking of one car per unit is provided on the site.
(Richard Smith was Project Architect for Stahl Associates, with Joel Nordberg as Project Manager)