On June 15, 2017, the American Institute of Architects’ Northern Virginia Chapter honored top projects at their 2017 Design Awards in Alexandria. The KGD-designed Springs Apartments received the Award of Merit for Commercial Architecture. The Springs is a mixed-use, mixed-income apartment community located in Ballston, a neighborhood located within Arlington, Virginia. The building is a five-story, 104-unit mixed-use development that includes 98 new affordable residential units and is the new headquarters for the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH), the only affordable housing developer operating solely in Arlington County.
The project is situated on a transitional street on the western edge of the Rosslyn/Ballston redevelopment corridor. It’s massing is designed to bridge that transition, sitting with one foot in the urban context of Ballston and the other in the surrounding Bluemont neighborhood. The building’s orientation has guests enter off a quiet residential street through a courtyard giving its visitors and residents a “front yard” experience. The office is defined by a distinctive change in materials, massing and an entrance off the main street.
The design features a continuous clearstory that gives the illusion that the residential building lightly floats above. Rounding the corner from the main street an intimate courtyard off the residential street provides a sense of approach to the residential entrance. The second courtyard is a private residential space for tenant activities which functions as a backyard to the building. Interior tenant corridors are provided direct connections to the outdoor courtyards by facing outward while activating both spaces with visual connectivity.