1125 Commerce Road
2021 AIA Richmond Honor Award
1125 Commerce Road is a collection of 139 low cost apartments situated within an existing historic warehouse. The project is 100% affordable housing and responsibly contributes to the revitalization of Richmond’s evolving Manchester neighborhood by offering a new and exceptionally rich space for community to grow within a familiar skin. While the existing warehouse’s square plan and extremely varied section complicated its conversion to apartments, a combination of low income housing and historic tax credits created unique economic viability.
Organizationally, the project is an interconnected series of open-air courtyards that function as pedestrian streets–spatially evocative of moving through Venetian campi, calli, and covered sotoporteghi. The roof is opened at specific moments above the courtyards to create large outdoor rooms that circulate fresh air throughout the building and offer ample natural light to each unit. The open-air courts are lined by colorful front doors and freely programmed with seating, games, and remnant artifacts from the warehouse’s previous life. They become communal rooms that emphasize the pedestrian street as a place for community and reflect Kahn’s sentiments regarding the street as a room of human agreement.