DC-based Division1 Architects are stepping up with some cool contemporary design on the Avenue in Silver Spring. Their ALC, Inc., headquarters building at the corner of Georgia Avenue and Ripley Street (just a few doors down from the new home of Joe’s Record Paradise!) transforms a shuttered Italianate-ish pawn brokerage into a multi-layered bit-of-the-other, with planes and masses sliding along and above each other and peek-a-boo window slot.
The use of the wood slats brings warmth to the crisp white brick and dark slate and adds a new color (no disrespect to the meineke or Pyramid Atlantic!) to the maroons and grays of the district. As it moves deeper into Ripley Street, the building also features the best addition to the array of Silver Spring contextual building materials: weathered Cor-Ten steel (thank you Quarry House! ). And all of this supporting a most inviting (and possibly vertiginous) plein-air party deck. NB: attend open house.
Division1 joins a growing roster of firms –Shalom Baranes, Bonstra Haresign, and Machado/Silvetti, among others – that are working to upgrade Silver Spring’s architectural character, which features many humble but well-designed little buildings with flavors of art deco, moderne, and classicism, and fewer but considerably larger buildings of lesser architectural repute. A step in the right direction.