Pennsylvania Whole Foods Market


Philadelphia and Wynnewood, Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Whole Foods Market | Rodin Square, Philadelphia, PA
View from entrance on Pennsylvania Avenue, facing the Rodin Museum. Placed at the end of the two-story glass arcade housing a two-story café, the step-down entrance initiates a welcoming, pedestrian scale. Photo by Dan Cunningham.

Rodin Square and the Whole Foods Market at Philadelphia Center City, Pennsylvania are now officially open, creating two additions to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway cityscape.  The Whole Foods Market celebrates Philadelphia’s industrial identity, takes advantage of the city views, and introduces several new food venues. The 60,000 SF grocery (pictured below) also provides an anchor to the Rodin Square block, which features a two-acre roof garden and pool for 293 residential units.

Learn more »  Rodin Square via our website.

WFM | Rodin Square, Philadelphia, PA
New concepts include open kitchens for the prepared food sections (top-most photo), and food halls with local vendors (photo directly above). In the open kitchen concept, cues like the shift from solid to patterned flooring, rather than physical barriers, distinguish customer areas from work areas. 
WFM | Rodin Square, Philadelphia, PA
Light shines in from the glass arcade on Pennsylvania Avenue to the coffee bar. Photo courtesy of Whole Foods Market.

Sarah Helms


Sarah has been part of the MV+A team for over a year as our Administrative Assistant. She’s the voice on the other side of the phone when you call the office (feel free to say hi!), and also helps to support marketing and presentation efforts, operations, and our newly redesigned website.

On city life:
“I grew up in rural north Georgia, then went to school in rural Virginia, so DC is the first city I’ve lived in. This winter, I’m planning on frequenting the modern art gallery of the National Portrait Gallery, and the Rodin sculptures in the National Gallery.”

On the MV+A office:
“I feel lucky that our office is beautiful. The architects here were intentional about the combination of wood paneling, concrete floor, earth tones, and exposed ceilings and beams, to create a soothing, organized environment to walk into every day.”

Whole Foods Market Wynnewood Opens

WFM | Wynnewood, PA

The Whole Foods Market at Wynnewood, PA, pictured here from Wynnewood Road, opened this September. MV+A planned the redevelopment and designed the store exterior and interiors.

NEWS    |   NOVEMBER 2016

Washington, District of Columbia

MVA Team 2016
Part of the "DeCanstruction" (breakdown) crew, with our Honorable Mention award. Left to right: Colleen, Carla, Brian V, Alyssa, Elyse, Wayne, and Kai.

MV+A took home an Honorable Mention in the Washington Architectural Foundation‘s Canstruction 2016, a can-based “architectural” competition to collect canned goods for the Capital Area Food Bank. Our “Sharknado,” based off of the Sharknado 3 movie, is comprised of 1,476 cans forming 2 sharks that wrap around the Washington Monument. After a staff brainstorm resulting in staff architect Courtney Drake’s highly contested “Sharknado” theme, architectural designer Colleen Korp and associate Brian Szymanski worked closely on the final design, while associate Wayne Broadfield decided on construction materials for the final build-out at the National Building Museum. In the design below, note the two-tone Washington Monument – the real life version uses two shades of marble, which we reflected with white and tan cans, winning the prize for “Best Use of DC Architectural Trivia.”

MVA Team 2016
Associate Russell Zung and architectural designer Colleen Korp place final touches on the structure, which topped out at nearly 8 feet.
MVA Team 2016
Work on the lower shark, assisted by associates Brian Szymanski and Russell Zung, and a favorite helper around the office, Mather Zung.

Alexandria, Virginia

Alexandria’s West End is going to have a new face, and MV+A is excited to play a role in it. At the center of an expansive redevelopment initiative by the JBG Companies, we are involved in planning and designing Block G – one of the largest of the blocks constituting the new ‘Town Center.’ As part of the collaborative process of design and planning with the City of Alexandria and neighboring communities, Block G was envisioned as having a historically inspired Main Street-like experience along Reading Avenue backed by the multitude of uses planned to have a home in Block G. Careful planning and design have helped to integrate these uses, all with a goal of creating a sustainable paradigm for development in Alexandria’s West End.

Mark Center | Alexandria, VA
View of the project entrance at Beauregard Street and Reading Ave. View shows plaza (at left) backed by the grocery anchor. Massing step backs and angled facades help distinguish contemporary facades from the Main Street experience.

Set within challenging topography, Block G involves a large format grocer, street retail, and multifamily apartments, all serviced by a new parking resource. MV+A proposed a design that gives the main anchor a prominent frontage while still preserving a human scaled, Main Street-like experience for smaller retail/restaurants along Reading Ave. The parking has been deftly squirreled away within the interior of the block, allowing other uses to face the streets and benefit from light, ventilation and views.

Mark Center | Alexandria, VA
View of the Reading Avenue experience, highlighting the multilayered architecture and active streetscape.

Subtle setbacks, angles, and amenities strewn throughout the block help articulate the massing and provide opportunities for residents to interact with their surroundings. Using specific impressions of historic architecture represented in the region – shallow bay windows, projecting glass storefronts and a rich palette of materials, colors and details – MV+A has layered elements to create a storyline that merges Main Street with contemporary ambitions.

Staff Profile: Courtney Drake, AIA

Courtney Drake, AIA works on several mixed-use developments, including Mark Center, where she applies strong technical skills and an above-average sensibility for the lived experience of potential project designs.


On cycling:
“In this photo, I’d traveled to Amsterdam, partly out of curiosity for how cycling is integrated to urban life. DC has come a long way, but the infrastructure of the city was not designed for an abundance of protected bike lanes. A lack of the feeling of safety inhibits the number of people embracing cycling. As for me, I love the idea of getting yourself somewhere, and not relying on fuel, or other time schedules to do so.”

On volunteering with Open Architecture Collaborative:
“Open Architecture Collaborative strives to make architectural resources available to everyone, empowering people to create change in their own communities. As a local, no one knows “here” better than you do. With these tools you can be the best advocate for sustainable action in your community. I contribute to the graphic design for the OAC website, presentations, and fundraising – anything to help visually communicate what we do.”

It’s Official: Trader Joe’s at Travilah Square

Trader Joe's | Travilah Square, Rockville, MD
Proposed design for the Trader Joe's at Travilah Square in Rockville, Maryland.

The Trader Joe’s at Travilah Square poses one of the common challenges of grocery design: the front of the building does not face the street. To reengage the site, we broke up the long mass facing Darnestown Road, and pushed back two bays at the building’s corners. A public plaza added to the corner captures pedestrian traffic, leading to the store entrance. Varied brick patterns and colors also help to modulate the long façade.

NEWS    |  NOVEMBER 2016

Notre Dame, Indiana

Art Architecture Piazza Navona in Rome, Italy
Kalinda's hand-drawing of Piazza Navona in Rome, Italy.

One of MV+A’s own traveled to University of Notre Dame for The Art of Architecture: Hand Drawings and Design Conference. As one of the presenters, project architect Kalinda Gathinji‘s talk focused on the role of perspective drawing in architectural design. Exploring the use of perspective in the Renaissance by architects such as Brunelleschi, Bernini, Borromini, and Palladio, she developed an argument for perspective drawing as a tool for understanding architecture as it is experienced through our capacity of vision. Using this understanding and applying it to the design process, we can enhance the built environment and the human experience. Other presenters at the conference emphasized the impact of technology on the brain as well as the benefit of hand drawing to more fully engage our mental capacity. Learn more at the conference website, and see Kalinda’s example drawings below.

Art Architecture Santa Maria della Pace in Milan, Italy
An additional drawing by Kalinda, demonstrating a perspective alongside Santa Maria della Pace in Milan, Italy.