Project Manager Dodie Hudson and Senior Architect Larry Hasson and River District Tower’s Dr. Mark Hermann discuss the transformation of the Dan River Research Building, now known as the River District Tower.
Dodie Hudson: Dr. Hermann, the executive director of River District Tower and he’s also a practicing physician with Spectrum Medical, he knew exactly what he wanted coming into this space.
Dr. Hermann: With the City and Dodie Hudson with Dewberry and I kind of collaborated to look at ways of sort of orchestrating this to develop the whole building. The full building is about 140,000-square-feet. Because of the design, it was designed for a completely different purpose; it was an industrial facility, original Riverside Cotton Mills. The main part of the building was built in 1882 then there was several additions over the years, the latest in the 20’s.
Dodie Hudson: I think the one main goal was let’s make it upbeat, upscale, something that Danville hasn’t seen.
Larry Hasson: There were times when we first walked through the building that even I as an architect wasn’t sure that we could achieve what they needed to achieve. You know it’s easy to just transform buildings but to transform buildings into specific uses in a way someone can actually function in it is sometimes challenging.
Dodie Hudson: We had samples of fabrics that were left, we had patent books. It was all kinds of information in here for us to gather and bring our design concepts into the space as we kept the historic fabric of this building. So we used those colors and those fabrics that we had found walking through the old space and tried to implement them into the spaces that you see now.
Larry Hasson: At the end, one thing we were able to do is have this balance. So when you walk through the space, you see the new, you see the very kind of cutting edge medical center could be, versus being able to see the existing structure and the makeup of what it was and you don’t lose sight that this was this very iconic, industrial warehouse at some point in the city of Danville.
Dr. Hermann: This building has the ability to touch everybody. You know between the restaurant, a large medical practice, a hospital in here. So people that would normally not come to the River District are now coming and discovering something they didn’t expect.