Monarch Mills Master Plan

Columbia, MD Completed 2012
Project Highlights
  • 257,100 sf, 279 units
  • New Construction
  • Developed by Shelter Group
  • Clubhouse: LEED Gold Certified
  • Green Communities Certified
  • 2013 HAND Housing Achievement Award
  • 2012 Governor’s Housing Conference Rental Housing Excellence Award
  • 2010 Pioneer in Housing Award, Nan McKay and Associates

Bringing a vintage village into the 21st century.

The former Guilford Gardens was a typical, 1970s era automobile-oriented apartment complex. Monarch Mills, which replaced the outdated development, has catapulted the complex into the 21st Century, creating a new vision for this mixed-income, inter-generational community as a pedestrian-friendly village which incorporates energy efficient and sustainable design features to improve the residents’ quality of life now and in the future.

Integral to the owner’s vision for the project was creating an identity for each building and neighborhood within the village. The design arranges the units to define smaller spaces for gathering and outdoor activity, providing the residents with a sense of place. The apartments’ Arts & Crafts style makes the units homey and comfortable. In addition, the LEED Gold clubhouse at the heart of the complex provides residents with a common “living room” to promote community.

Central to the guiding principles for the development was the separation of pedestrian and vehicular traffic. Maintaining the community’s existing ring road, the design retains the green space connecting the apartments which allows residents to traverse the development without crossing a road.

This carefully planned redevelopment used the existing paving, utility infrastructure and footprint, and the project’s phasing only required existing residents to move once during the construction process.