HABS NO. MD-1216 Page 12
Springhill Lake buildings were designed to coordinate with each other and produce an overall, consistent feel. Though development consisted of several different stages with each section being constructed at different times, buildings throughout Springhill Lake are recognizably consistent in materials, forms, and siting. Both townhouses and low-rise apartment buildings are constructed of wall-bearing block with brick veneer of three different earth tones – brown, siena, and cream. All masonry courses are arranged in running bond. Each low-rise apartment building has a pitched roof with asphalt shingles. Three colors of shingle are employed, each corresponding to a matching color of brick. (figures). Windows are horizontal sliders with aluminum frames.
Within these two broad categories and three forms there is significant variety. There are 28 different floor plans offered within the 2899 units of Springhill Lake. The floor plans range from small 663-square foot, one-bedroom apartments to four-bedroom apartments up to 1507 square feet in size. The architects at Cohen Haft had suggested that a variety of unit types be available so that, once a young family moved in to the complex, they could continue to live in Springhill Lake as their family grew by moving to larger apartments. 32
Upon the opening of the first units in 1963, monthly rent started at $115 for a one-bedroom apartment.33 When the redevelopment plan of Springhill Lake was announced in 2004, the starting rent for a 1-bedroom apartment was $759 a month. 34
IV. Landscape Architecture
Much of the allure of a garden apartment complex lies in the buildings’ naturalistic setting. Mature trees offering shade and repose, verdant courtyards offering areas for children’s play and pedestrian paths – all of these could enhance the attractiveness of a development. For T.D. Donovan and Associates, garden apartments were a staple of the landscape architecture business. The Silver Spring, Maryland, firm had developed a strong reputation as a full-service landscape architecture firm – doing conceptual site-planning, grade planning, and planting schemes – for individual homeowners, builders, and real estate development companies. Thurman Donovan, the firm’s principal and a University of Maryland grad, had previous collaborations with Cohen Haft that led to the firm’s work on the development of Springhill Lake, an ongoing effort for almost a decade.35 The site planning had been done by Cohen Haft as part of the architecture firm’s contract with Community Builders. Southern Engineering, a firm owned by developer Albert Small, had developed engineering plans including drainage and sewers. Thus the
32 David Holtz. Interview by the author. 22 July 2005. Potomac MD. Holtz was an architect and land planner at Cohen Haft.
33 Carl Freeman. “Springhill Lake Grows Fast in Five Year Span.” Washington Post. 24 June 1967: E4. $115 in 1963 equivalent to $730 in 2005. Bureau of Labor Statistics Inflation Calculator. http://www.bls.gov. Accessed 29 June 2005. This represented roughly 11 percent of the Prince George’s County annual median family income.
34 “Springhill Lake.” Promotional brochure, 2004. http://www.aimco.com. Accessed 13 May 2005. This represents roughly 16 percent of the median family annual income in Prince George’s County.
35 Richard Feola. Interview by the author. 22 June 2005. Gaithersburg, MD. Feola was an employee of T.D. Donovan & Associates and later became a principal in what is now Donovan, Feola, Balderson, & Associates, Inc.