Converted factory to residence
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As children, many of us were fascinated by the odd materials, looming forms and complex structures of urban industrial buildings – all the more intrigued when we learned we were not allowed to explore them directly. This remarkable building conversion project captures the industrial heart of the original rag factory while integrating impressive sustainable innovations for contemporary condo living.

On top of the colorful and engaging aesthetics, there are an abundance of incredible eco-friendly innovations employed in this reconstruction project by Onion Flats in Philadelphia. Captured rainwater stored in underground tanks is routed to water rooftop gardens and wall-climbing vegetation. Photovoltaic panels add solar-collecting functionality and visual interest along the roof lines.

Rag Flats complex in Philadelphia

The resulting residential complex is an amazing synthesis of old and new, in terms of structure, space and sustainable technology. It reflects its origins as a hodge-podge factory complex but reflects contemporary spatial design approaches and contains forward-thinking green architectural strategies.

“Rag Flats is an experiment in and a critique of sustainable forms of urban dwelling. This former industrial Rag Factory has been re-conceptualized as a residential garden community created by prototypical forms of dwelling commonly found in Philadelphia: The Row house, The Trinity, The Loft and the Pavilion. Rag Flats intentionally explores the necessary relationships between density, intimacy and privacy in any urban community.”

Solar panels at Rag Flats

“Inspired by one of the most fundamental urban building blocks of Philadelphia, the ‘trinities’ occupy and redefine the central courtyard of the community. Freestanding yet perceptually interwoven, each dwelling is a 2140 SF, three bedroom, three bath, three story, 20’x20’ trinity tower with ‘extensions’ at each level.”

Green space at Rag Flats

Historic building renovated

“Outdoor garden spaces at the ground level for each dwelling are intimate and private yet interdependent. Each trinity is oriented to the courtyard and path of the sun uniquely, such that the light and air inside and outside each unit are ever changing and particular to its specific setting. Fundamental to these trinities is the desire to occupy fully all roofs as “living” rooms, private garden platforms, extensions of the interior, and connections to the immediate and surrounding community.”