Brick by Glen-Gery helps integrate Maryland’s height into the skyline
promotion: The American Design Collective developed a 27-story mixed-use tower in Silver Spring, Maryland, which is clad in custom-colored brick by materials manufacturer Glen-Gery.
Solaire 8200 Dixon is the tallest tower in Silver Spring, a northern suburb of Washington, D.C. It consists of 403 residential units, entertainment spaces, a dining hall, and four levels of above-class parking.
Occupying a non-straightforward location, it connects its residents to the city’s metro, Metropolitan Branch Trail, and the pedestrian and transportation network surrounding downtown Silver Spring.
“The building has many different facades and not really a real background, which was quite a design challenge,” said Design Collective architect Alice Talbot. “Each aspect has to be looked at from all different angles and from all different approaches.”
“With a 27-storey building, you really need to do things to bring it back to a human level.” “A lot of times we focus on the first 20 feet, and that’s how you feel when you walk down the street.”
The building’s curved entry sequence along Dixon Street features a deep overhang that houses the food court entrance and outdoor dining area.
To clad the building, the architects specified Norman-sized Glen-Gery matte Klaycoat bricks and used six different custom colors to create a more intimate scale at street level and make the tower blend into the skyline.
A custom trio of dark gray shades was chosen for the building’s platform and a palette of three light gray shades for the rest of the tower.
“We wanted two brick panels and we wanted there to be a great contrast between the two,” Talbot said.
“We used a dark Klaycoat mix for the base which really grounded the building and made it feel earthy, and then for the upper floors, to lighten the rest of the soaring height, we wanted a lighter mix of brick.”
Glen-Gery’s breathable Klaycoat brick is coated with “liquid clay” that comes in 20 different colors and virtually unlimited custom colors. The paint is applied to the body of the unfired brick and is incorporated into it during firing.
Unlike glazes, which are usually impervious, Klaycoat surface coating allows water vapor to pass through the face of the brick without damaging the surface.
More than 350,000 bricks in over 11,000 shapes have been used to clad the building with orange metallic accents strategically placed throughout.
“We were drawn to the bricks for this project because of their human qualities — their tangible qualities,” Talbot explained. “She has a lot of personality and maybe part of that is because she’s actually from Earth. You can’t recreate that.”
Another project that has recently used Glen-Gery bricks is a conference center on a green site in Iowa designed by American studio Substance Architecture. Named Tree Huis, the 650-square-meter building in Marion County is decorated with Ebonite Velor bricks laid in a horizontal arrangement and chosen for a timeless look.
Glen-Gery brick was also used in New York’s Grand Mulberry designed by American architect Morris Adjmi. The bricks are hand shaped in order to create unique patterns and shapes that were developed specifically for the project.
The brand’s Black Roman Maximus brick was also chosen as the cladding for a New Jersey residence designed by Brooklyn-based architecture firm Studio PHH, La Clairiere.
Located in Princeton, New Jersey, the house consists of two brick-clad volumes connected by a glass central void containing the common areas.
To learn more about Glen-Gery, visit her website.
This article was written by Dezeen for Glen-Gery as part of the partnership. Find out more about Dezeen’s partnership content here.