In recent years the north side of Old Town, Alexandria has had several new multifamily buildings arrive, all similar in envelope due to zoning. TCR looked to us to create fresh and spirited interiors, differentiating the building from the competition within a tight amenity program.
All photography by Greg Powers.
To establish a feeling of approachable elegance that would attract a broad demographic, we took inspiration from Europe’s grand cafés. Impressive yet casual, these hospitality-forward spaces work for anything from solo daytime coffee and work sessions to building-wide gatherings in the evening.
The heart of the project is a two story space given rhythm by a series of wood-clad arches, drawing from Julia Morgan’s remarkable pool room at the Berkeley City Club. Anchored by a bar at one end and a marble fireplace at the other, this south-facing space stays bright all day while smartly trimmed acoustic ceiling panels keep the atmosphere relaxing without sacrificing aesthetics. An all-day coffee offering housed on the backbar draws a constant stream of residents, and a large TV on a lift behind the bar stays hidden while not in use and emerges for events.
A zinc bartop with a traditional chunky edge profile was crafted in Savannah by La Bastille, known for supplying high end restaurants around the US. The material will patina in time, trading its smooth sheen for burnished layers of marks and rings that tell the story of its use. A warm walnut bar front extends to the tiled floor, a mix of custom ceramic mosaic fields, borders, and rosettes developed for the project.
The rooftop club room was initially intended just to support the exterior deck, but as we developed the project, we saw the opportunity for it to become a year-round destination, relieving pressure on the open amenity spaces for daily use and private parties. Strong demarcations in the floor and ceiling intuitively create different zones in the room while keeping an open flow, and an island service counter with a sink, refrigeration, and an ice well help to divide the space and serve as a gathering point for resident events. With a constrained ceiling height, the ultra-glossy white ceiling reflects the available light and visually amplifies the size of the room.
Delivered in 2021, Alexan Florence set a new standard for the neighborhood and quickly leased up. Stabilized and at the top of the market, it attracted a diverse mix of residents from within the area and further afield.