Friday, January 18, 2008

silver spring: too ugly for its own good?

WHAT'S UP THE PIKE: Blake Jazz Ensemble teams up with Olney Big Band this Saturday; State pledges $100 million for Purple Line; 19-year-old seeks to buy Moby Dick's House of Kabob.

The fifty-year-old Perpetual Building at Georgia Avenue and Cameron Street is threatened with demolition.
"It still hasn’t really come together as an organic community, and it is not conducive to good architecture . . . There are so many bad buildings in Silver Spring, it’s a hard place to do good." - Benjamin Forgey
As someone who spends a decent amount of time thinking about architecture and his beloved hometown, I wanted to punch Washington Post critic Benjamin Forgey IN THE FACE for knocking Silver Spring's aesthetics in this month's Washingtonian article, "The Good, Bad, and Ugly: Best and Worst Buildings." But Forgey's remarks might be worth considering in the light of recent preservation controversies surrounding the so-called "Watson House" in Woodside Park and the Perpetual Building on Georgia Avenue. Not to mention last year's fight to save Falkland Chase, which was largely successful, and a pair of bungalows on Thayer that eventually bit the dust.

After all, if Silver Spring has so many "bad buildings," is anything worth saving? And which ones? Is the Watson House, a relic of our rural-suburban past, necessary to help people remember where we came from? And can the 50's-era Perpetual Building hold its ground architecturally among Downtown's newer office and apartment towers?

I will let you know what I think next week. In the meantime, put your two cents in the comments section or in our nifty poll on the left side.


Anonymous said...

Wow, that guy must really hate Silver Spring. He has nothing good to say about it.

Anonymous said...

Although the "Woodside Park Section Seven" subdivision was platted around the Watson House, "Section Seven" is today recognized as a part of the Woodside Forest neighborhood, not Woodside Park.

The Historic Preservation Commission made a serious error in choosing not to recommend the house for historic designation. It is a far superior example of pre-extensive suburban development Dutch Colonial architecture than anything else that has been identified or historically designated in Montgomery County.

-- Bob Oshel, Woodside Park historian/architectural historian (author of "Homesites of Distinction: The History of Woodside Park" (available at your local Montgomery County Public Library)

Anonymous said...

Coverage on landmark designation for the 1958 Perpetual Building Association Building:

“Preserving the past, building for the future”

Perpetual Building Association Building Hearing Before the Montgomery County Planning Board, 1/10/08

then click on each:
Part 10
Part 11
Part 12

retgroclk said...

I don't know the answer, but "Is it possible to save the facade of the building and modernize the interior.

I believe that the new Giant in Columbia Heights, did just that. They kept the exterior of the old theater, and modernize the interior. Is it possible?

The new condos and apt. at Seminary Place(The Walter Reed Annex) are doing the same thing.

Anonymous said...

I've lived in Silver Spring since I was born. I am almost 27 and I 've seen alot of change I don't like. I loved the unique historic feel the town had which exists only in a few places due to demolition and cheap built overpriced cluster housing. Low quality merchants, chain food stores and corporations have made Silver Spring into an "Everywhere Else" town. I would be more content with development if it was done tastefully (Silver Theater Etc.).

Anonymous said...

Edit: Professor M