If you read my previous post for Historic Preservation Month, you know that in picking a theme for this year’s Preservation Month, the National Trust for Historic Preservation issued a challenge to people in communities across the country to discover hidden gems and celebrate local historic resources. Montgomery County historic preservation planners responded by preparing a list of historic resources we hope you will discover.
While Preservation Month has become a fun annual event to raise awareness and celebrate historic preservation nation-wide, our exploration of the county’s historic resources will continue long after we turn the page on May. Our efforts have led us to look beyond what many people recognize as historic, and to start thinking about buildings … Continue reading
This article has been corrected with two facts: the exterior panels are glass, not porcelain, and in the summer of 2012, the horizontal band over the parking lot entrance was taken down for construction of 8711 Georgia Avenue. Thanks to readers for your comments. Clare Lise Kelly 9-12-12
Designed by architect Edwin Weihe in 1960, the American National Bank Building, at 8701 Georgia Avenue, is a fine example of an International style office building. When it opened in 1961, it was the tallest building in Silver Spring and featured several design innovations.
Architect Edwin Weihe placed the building’s heating, cooling, and elevator equipment in a low roof penthouse, designed so that it is not immediately apparent from the streetview. … Continue reading
The Bushey Drive Elementary School, in Wheaton, is a three-story, round school designed by Deigert and Yerkes in 1961.
As noted in my colleague’s recent post on round houses, round schools were also promoted for lower operating costs, greater efficiency, and lower building costs. In this era, round and hexagonal schools were built across the country.
In plan, the school had a middle story with common rooms (kitchen, library, general purpose room) and offices, sandwiched between top and bottom floors of classrooms.
David Norton Yerkes and Robert C. Deigert were partners in a Washington DC firm from about 1946 to 1966. In Montgomery County, projects designed by the firm include numerous custom houses and … Continue reading
Washingtonian magazine recently ran a long article about preservation in the Washington, D.C. region, including early efforts at Mount Vernon after the Civil War to more recent efforts recognizing Modern architecture.
You can read about the local battles and inspirations here, but to me, the most interesting paragraph in the article was this one:
“Sometimes historic buildings are sacrificed for what is considered the greater good. The Federal Triangle was Washington’s first great example in the 1930s, when several square blocks were torn down to make way for a federal office complex. Construction of the National Archives meant demolition of the city’s central food market. The Kennedy Center replaced the city’s largest brewery. And the Army Medical … Continue reading
Last Wednesday, the National Trust for Historic Preservation released a report demonstrating something some will find counterintuitive or even dubious, but which many of us in the historic preservation field have thought for years: reusing existing buildings almost always offers more environmental savings than demolition and new construction.
The study, The Greenest Building: Quantifying the Environmental Value of Building Reuse, includes some interesting findings: A new, high-performance building needs between 10-80 years, depending on the building type and where it is built, to offset the environmental impact of its construction. In comparing new and retrofitted buildings ofsimilar size, function, and performance, energy savings in retrofitted buildings ranged from 4-46 percent higher than new construction. The benefits of retrofitting … Continue reading
Back in June I wrote about the Historic Preservation Commission’s approval of a proposal to install solar panels on the roof of the Sycamore Store, a historic site designated in the Montgomery County Master Plan for Historic Preservation.
The panels have been installed. Have a look.
As discussed back in June, putting solar panels in a highly visible location on a historic resource is not the preferred alternative from a historic preservation perspective, and it is not appropriate in many instances. But sometimes, as with the Sycamore Store, it may be the only place on a site where solar panels will operate effectively. And, given … Continue reading
Reusing an old movie theater is one of historic preservation’s toughest challenges. Often they are large downtown spaces that have been made obsolete by suburban multiplexes that can out-compete with free parking and lots of screens.
But every once in a while, they manage to survive, sometimes through re-use. The MacArthur Theater in the District’s Palisades neighborhood has lost a good deal of its romance, but at least the streetfront landmark survives, if only as a CVS drugstore.
I spent many hours in Brookline Massachusetts’ Coolidge Corner Theater, sureptitously unwrapping bagels and cream cheese while gorging myself on Frank Capra, Bette Davis, and Cary Grant. Even in this era of Netflix couch potatoes, that theater survives with membership and vigorous … Continue reading
What: 2011 NCPC Speaker Series Contemporary Design, Historic City: The Balancing Act Between Innovation & Preservation When: Tuesday, June 7, 2011 6:30 – 8:00 PM Where: Koubek Auditorium – Crough Center for Architectural Studies School of Architecture and Planning Catholic University of America
As a city filled with historic structures and landmarks, architectural preservation in the nation’s capital receives a lot of attention. Yet, as Washington continues to evolve, there exists a growing need for new development and a desire for more modern and inventive architecture. Making sure the two can successfully co-exist is the responsibility of the agencies involved in the planning and design review process. Join a panel of distinguished design and planning experts as they explore … Continue reading
The Seymour Krieger House (1958), in Bethesda’s Bannockburn neighborhood, was designed by internationally renowned architect Marcel Breuer. The structure is the only single-family dwelling designed by Marcel Breuer in Montgomery County, and is one of four residential buildings he designed in Maryland. The residence was built for Seymour Krieger, a communications lawyer, and his wife Rita. The Krieger family lived here until 1964.
The resource is an outstanding example of an International Style residence. Its transparent volumetric form, exposed steel framing, lack of applied ornamentation and balanced asymmetry are hallmarks of the style. The triangular-shaped corner lot was landscaped by prolific landscape designer Dan Kiley. The project was the first of five collaborations between Breuer and Kiley nationwide, and was one of only two … Continue reading
GEICO, Wisconsin and Western Avenues, Friendship Heights
The corporate headquarters for GEICO (1959) is an International Style complex of carefully articulated buildings designed by architect Vincent G Kling. Long low wings are contrasted by higher opaque blocks and sheathed in porcelain enamel and textured glass panels. The 26-acre landscaped campus includes flying saucer light fixtures, a Hovercraft-like fountain perched at the entrance. Terraced parking lots are shaded by mature trees. A taller office tower (left) was added in 1964.
Architect Vincent Kling of Philadelphia worked for Skidmore Owings & Merrill before establishing his own firm in 1946. His expertise was in research labs and commercial space. As he designed the GEICO building, he was engaged in creating, with Edmund Bacon, the master … Continue reading