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Construction Tour: Liberty Crest (Laurel Hill Adaptive Reuse Area)
April 16

At 8400 Lorton Road, Lorton, VA 22079. Directions provide below.

Offered as part of Virginia Architecture Week.

A project to redevelop the historic core of the former Lorton Reformatory, originally commissioned by Theodore Roosevelt and built in 1910, is now under construction after 14 years of planning and preparations. Liberty Crest at Laurel Hill, the name of the new neighborhood, will reuse former prison buildings and preserve the historic character of the site, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Alexander Company, a national leader in historic preservation, is transforming 29 historic buildings on the unique 80-acre prison complex into 165 apartments, historic retail and commercial space, and a clubhouse with a swimming pool. Southway Builders joined the team in 2014 as construction manager and is overseeing the $35 million adaptive reuse portion of the project, which is scheduled for completion in mid-2017. Additional work is simultaneously taking place on the surrounding site including all new infrastructure, green space and the construction of 83 new townhomes and 24 new single-family homes.

Learning Objectives:

• Participants will gain information about the history of the former prison including its original design and intent, how it evolved into a maximum security prison and why it ultimately shuttered.

• Participants will develop an understanding of the conceptual vision for adaptive reuse coupled with the challenges of historic preservation and complex funding requirements.

• Participants will examine several historic buildings on the campus considering how the historic character was maintained on the exterior while the interior was modified for residential use and how new roadways, infrastructure and infill housing were integrated within a historic campus.

• Participants will consider how the project worked within the guidelines of the National Park Service Preservation Briefs, adapting the structures for new use with minimal impact on historic fabric.

1.5 AIA HSW LUs. Join Southway Builders, The Alexander Company and LeMay Erickson Willcox Architects, Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) Construction Administration Architect,  for a first glimpse and construction tour of this unique redevelopment. This is a construction site, therefore appropriate clothing and footwear (no “open” shoes allowed) are required. This is a large site requiring a good deal of walking. Expect to walk a total of approximately one mile over the course of the entire tour.

From Lorton Road, proceed up an access drive past the Giles Run Meadow recreation park.  There is a construction entrance sign on Lorton Road at the access drive.  At the top of the hill, park in the lot at the end of the drive.   Proceed on foot to the former prison guard tower at the corner of the parking lot.  A tour guide will direct you from there.

The tour is free and open to the public, but registration below. For questions, please email

For information on all Architecture Week activities, click here.