The warp and weft of Fries, Virginia

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Virginia Tech


Fries, Virginia exists because of the Fries Textile Mill. The closing of the mill calls into question the future of the community of Fries. The decline of the town can be tied to the closing of the mill. Conversely, the revitalization of the mill should help to reshape the town. Even as it stands empty, the mill continues to be a massive presence on the hillside overlooking the New River. It is possible to turn this symbol of the past into a hope for the future.

About a century ago an imposing brick building intruded on the serenity of that hillside above the New River. That building was an intrusion then, but it is an integral part of the landscape now. The mill is the landmark that defines the town. It is also functionally obsolete. New construction at the mill is necessary to turn it into something that can be productive in today's economy.

The new construction at the mill is designed to reveal and emphasize the qualities of the building and the town which already exist. The existing mill structure has become the warp, and a new structure is to be woven into it. It is designed to enhance the old structure and to do it in a way that is less intrusive than the original construction. Three new buildings have been sculpted out of the existing mill, through carefully adding new structure and subtracting from the existing building. The mill has been modified so that it might fit in today's world, and the town of Fries is about to begin its next chapter.