Silver Spring Library Review

Silver Spring’s Ho-Hum Library 

The Washington Post, Aug. 2, 2015

The new Silver Spring branch of the Montgomery County library opened to much fanfare. The building is big — five stories, three of which are for the library — and sits on one of the busiest corners downtown. Designed by the Lukmire Partnership, an Arlington architecture firm, this library does much more than house books. It has e-readers at the checkout desk and a large, casual area for teens, public meeting rooms and a digital media lab. Appropriately, the architects chose a contemporary material palette of glass, concrete and steel. The result is a building that fits right into its urban setting and allows readers to bask in the daylight that floods in through glass walls.

The Silver Spring Library anchors the southwest corner of Wayne Avenue and Fenton Street. It fills a crucial gap in the street edge along Wayne, and the increase in foot traffic will enliven that up-and-coming corridor. The library’s main entrance, on Fenton Street, represents an effort to draw the energy of downtown Silver Spring south into the Fenton Village neighborhood. A nearby apartment building for older adults will help with that once finished.

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Photograph by Brittany Greeson

Urbanizing Gas Stations

Why Gas-Station Restaurants Are Great for Suburbs

A new crop of restaurants in gas stations, like Seoul Food D.C., will help suburbs grow into more authentic urban places. 

CityLab, Nov. 14, 2014

It’s 1 p.m. on a Tuesday, and I’m at Seoul Food D.C., eating a kimchi-bacon rice bowl as I watch cars whoosh down a six-lane road. I’m fighting the urge to finish my lunch with one of the pumpkin whoopie pies next to the cash register—instead, I settle for a pack of gum, sold in the Tiger Mart a few steps away.

Tiger Mart, you may recall, is Exxon’s convenience-store brand. Yes, this Korean-fusion café operates out of a gas station. Anna and Jon Goree launched Seoul Food in a food truck in nearby Arlington, Virginia, in 2011. After building a devoted following for their caramelized kimchi and bibimbap, the couple decided to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant.

They learned of the space in the Exxon when they got a call from its new owner, an acquaintance who was unsure what to do with his extra square footage. The Gorees liked the space and the location, and in early 2013, they signed a three-year lease.

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Photograph by Hank Shiffman/Shutterstock

Bing in the Burbs

The Architect’s Newspaper, Feb. 27, 2013

Ellen Dunham-Jones and June Williamson put the phrase “retrofitting suburbia” into the urbanist lexicon back in 2008, when they published a book about a movement to turn dying malls and car-choked strips into mixed-use, walkable places. Slowed by the recession, the movement roared back into view in Maryland this month. On February 13, the owners of a huge 1960s apartment and strip retail complex in Silver Spring unveiled a master plan by Bing Thom Architects and Sasaki Associates for an ambitious redevelopment of the 27-acre site.

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