January 27, 2017 Preservation

Endangered: Silver Spring Library by Rhees Burket

The mid-century modern Silver Spring Library  by noted local architect Rhees Evans Burket, AIA, is facing an uncertain future. The county has put out a request for proposals from developers to turn the site into senior housing and child day care facilities through either incorporating the existing building or knocking it down and starting from scratch. Local activists, including the Silver Spring Historical Society (SSHS), are urging any development plan to integrate the existing structure into the future design. Proposals are due Feb. 28.


SS Library

A vintage rendering of the low-slung library. Courtesy of the Silver Spring Historical Society.


“Inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s ‘organic modernism,’ ‘in harmony with nature,’ his 1957 S.S. Library of stone and glass and brick, integrated into the hilly landscape, was the largest County library at the time., ” the SSHS said in a statement. “This public building is Burket’s legacy to Silver Spring and Montgomery County.”

SS Library interior



An original clock inside.

Burket (1899-1963), a Silver Spring resident, was a noted architect in the D.C. area for his homes, commercial and public buildings, including schools. His Stratford School in Arlington, Va., is on the National Register of Historic Properties.