Historic renovation is a regular part of the construction landscape in historic Roswell, GA, and one of the most recent additions to the list of renovated sites is The Bricks — recently reborn as part of The Bricks II.
The original structure known as The Old Bricks was originally constructed in 1839 by Scottish masons to house factory workers who worked for Roswell King at his nearby Roswell Cotton Mill. Subsequently, the building served for a short time in 1864 as a hospital for wounded Federal troops. According to the Georgia Historical Commission, the structure is believed to be the oldest apartment building in the United States. Clearly, the site has significant cultural value.
The historic renovation and new construction project at the site, designed by Lew Oliver, transformed the 170-year-old apartment building into a town house project, while at the same time inspiring the construction of two new town houses. Together, the renovated historic structure and the contemporary addition make up The Bricks II.
Preserving the Original Structure
During the renovation, the original structure of the old building was preserved even as creative ways to use historic and recycled materials were incorporated into the project. The resulting new space integrates modern amenities and 10-foot ceilings with the historic charm of the old building.
The project took 10 months to complete.
"Every day of the construction process was extremely challenging," noted Andres Gonzalez, partner of H&G Construction Concepts, "but the final results make it exceptionally rewarding."
Renovation In An Historic Area
The project is located at the intersection of Sloan and Mill Streets, an area that is becoming increasingly popular due to the noticeable building renaissance the town of Roswell has experienced in recent years.
During the recent new construction phase, items such the cedar balconies were integrated into the existing structure, while Hardie plank siding walls and seamless metal roofs gave continuity to the exposed aged brick walls.
"If these walls could talk, they would enlighten us with the countless historic moments they have secretly kept," said Paula Henao, Construction Concepts' partner.
Saving Elements of History
A number of items from the 1830s building — including such items as the front doors, the fireplaces with their mantles, and the ceiling beams — have been restored and reinstalled in key areas of the town houses in order to accentuate their historic style.
In addition, recycled bricks salvaged from a demolished downtown building (known to be the stable walls for the General Sherman's troops in 1864 and the manufacturing plant of Southern Furniture Company in 1888) were used in the project. So were antique heart pine beams, which were converted into floorboards. Roofing tin tiles were also used as wall covering for new fireplaces.
New Construction and Environmental Sensitivity
In addition to the renovation of the historic structure, the project included construction of more than 2,000 square feet of new space. That was enough to increase the living area, providing the new town houses with enough space for three bedrooms, three bathrooms, two-car garages, and a wine foyer.
Designers and builder put particular effort into respecting the environment while developing the project. For example, The Bricks II features permeable stone pavers and gravel driveways and is designed for storm water filtration prior to discharging into the city's infrastructure.