Silver Spring Civic Building – 2011 Public Building of the Year

Award – Public Building of the Year 

Project – Civic Building and Veterans’ Plaza 

Category – Institutional Architecture 

Project Location – One Veterans’ Place, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910 

Architect – Machado and Silvetti Associates 

Associated Architect – The Lukmire Partnership – Nicholas Germano, AIA, NCARB, Coordinating Architect/Construction Administrator 

Owner/Developer – Montgomery County, MD, Department of General Services 

Contractor – Costello Construction of Maryland 

Photographer(s) – Anton Grassl/Esto 

Jury Comments
This project perfectly fit the award – it was a project that we could all very clearly identify as offering something intensely public to the city of Silver Spring.  Part of which of course is the building, but which is much more fundamentally about creating public space through the intersection of outdoor space, landscape and building. The project seemed to be extraordinarily well detailed and really exceptional. We loved that porch-like space – it almost looks like an outdoor stage. It has a huge scale which allows it to have presence along the plaza and it seemed to create a kind of physical representation of a place where people could gather for communal activities. This was an obvious choice for this award. The project is all about the public realm. The layering of the space flows seamlessly from the public plaza through the foyer into the gathering space at the building interior. The urbanistic response is as much a part of the project as the architecture. The entrance plaza was very appealing.  It’s described as a transition space and is very successful for that. We see that being a really well-used public civic space.

Project Description
The MSA project is designed as the terminus of a pedestrian axis linking the Civic Building and Veterans’ Plaza to the Metro transportation station. The entry aligns with the main shopping street’s south sidewalk, with a pedestrian spur continuing the sidewalk’s line across the plaza, and to the building’s front door.   The major public spaces are arranged sequentially, to create a direct visual and civic relationship between the Great Hall, Pre-function Space, Portico, and Plaza. Public space in front of the Civic Building continues into the interior, and vice versa, with all large-volume interior public spaces directly accessible from the main entry or Plaza, and the Portico serving as a covered area for performances.   To create internal relationships between the program elements and to make the building feel internally connected and welcoming to the public, physical and visual connections of different levels and program functions were introduced. These take the form of overlook balconies, glazed walls at community classrooms, a large feature stair, the courtyard, and double volume spaces.

Project Size:
44,555 square feet (building)
44,024 square feet (plaza)

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