An architect’s purpose is to shape the world in which they live; each structure designed is a monument to the time, place, and culture in which it was built. During his first visit to Montgomery Mill in Windsor Locks, CT, Max Ballardo of Crosskey Architects observed that “time inscribes decay, nature regains its natural habitat and inserts itself into a building forgotten by men.” It’s a reminder that nothing lasts forever and nature reclaims what man builds.
Thus, the preservation of this 140-year-old icon is a testament to our dedication to respect industrial development and those who participated in the design and construction. The Montgomery Mill is a building that, in its conception, was brilliantly sited and tied to the surrounding landscape. Even after being abandoned for some time, Max could see past all the years of neglect, vegetal growth and water damage to the building’s true potential:
“When entering this space and looking through a window into the Connecticut River you can see how nature has merged into this building as this factory likely did in the Windsor Locks day to day working society. Once part of the neighborhood, this historical building is one with nature. Let’s salvage it and reconnect it to its people while preserving its site connection to nature.”
With a new holistic design scheme, this old mill can be transformed and used as a tool to teach, to comfort, and to reinforce the connection between man’s desire/need for technological advancement and nature.
“Time inscribes decay…” It’s inescapable. However, given the opportunity to protect the history of buildings, like Montgomery Mill, we have the ability to postpone deterioration and bring life back to a vacant building. By preserving our tangible, architectural heritage, we give future generations time to experience our past and use that knowledge to create a better future.
By Max Ballardo, MDes Int. Arch.