Spring Street Apartment Project Takoma

Spring Place and Chestnut

Summary Evaluation

Urban Design and Traffic

1.    Bulk and massing need to be shown with a physical model to adequately confirm or dispel concerns of a canyon effect along Spring Place and the subsequent adverse impact on natural light within this limited width corridor.   Current concept massing sketches are deceptive and do not provide a realistic depiction of the resulting street widths from façade face-to-façade face.


2.    The existing width of Spring Place, (2 lanes) in addition to the lack of a pedestrian sidewalk along the southwest side of the street and the required sidewalk on the northeast side of Chestnut raises questions about the serviceability of the corridor.  This is specifically important given that Spring Place is the only primary means of access for what would be a significant increase in vehicular activity. 


3.    What is the proposed use of the existing alley proposed between Phases 1 and 2.  Existing concept drawings do not adequately indicate the nature of the right of way shown.  In addition, the proposed distance from façade face –to-face of phases 1 and 2 indicate a alley or pedestrian way that would receive limited (noon time daylight only) unless the facades along this smaller corridor are stepped/setback at the 4th level.


4.    More analysis is needed to determine not the feasibility but the suitability, safety and security of the units facing northeast along the raised metro tracks.


5.    Similarly, an abundance of street lighting along both the Spring Place Corridor, the northeast end of the proposed alley, and in the courtyard are vital due to the dead-end streets and after hours safety concerns. 


6.    Vegetation shown and needed in order to humanize the compact and shaded area ie the proposed courtyard requires a more detailed review of the feasibility of the landscaping proposals due the lack of natural light with the courtyard and along Spring Place. 


7.    The vegetation depicted along the balconies of the concept elevations is an embellishment intended to improve the graphic appearance and marketability of the façade.  Due to lighting and the apparent requirement that they be maintained by tenants, this is an exercise in artistic license at best.



Architecture-Materials and Compatibility

1.     The concept elevations of the proposed structures indicates a structure that makes liberal use of EIPS panel board, siding and windows that lack character and a level of detailing that recognizes and celebrates the architectural features and feel of Historic Takoma.      


2.    The lack of brick or similar stone elements, particularly along the Spring Place Façade, reduces the proposed building’s compatibility with the surrounding existing and recently completed new residential buildings.   


3.    Similarly, window elements lack character and detailing and are shown as simple sliding panels with no distinguishable relief or mulleins to add character to the façade.  The use of panel board at key locations along Spring Place comprise the primary finish treatment at the buildings most important face such as the prominent corner of phase 2 at Spring Place and the alley. 

James K Russell  Assoc. AIA, AICP

Former Resident of Takoma Park DC


Senior Asset Manager and Urban Planner

Office of Portfolio Management

General Services Administration

National Capital Region