Westbard’s Long-Awaited Town Center

DESIGN BRIEF | July 2021

Westbard’s Long-Awaited Town Center

Westbard Toen Center

The neighborhoods alongside River Road in Bethesda, Maryland are home to long-established civic and cultural institutions and suburban homes from the 1930’s and 1940’s. Surprisingly, however, the area lacks the pedestrian-scaled neighborhood retail typical of other early Washington suburbs. That is about to change. The Bethesda neighborhood, Westwood, will soon have a long-awaited town center that, for a variety of reasons, was never built until now. The Westbard Square project will redevelop a typical car-oriented 1960’s shopping center on Westbard Avenue in Westwood into a modern mixed-use town center that successfully combines modern and time-tested planning concepts. The new town center will contain new offices, apartments, and townhomes while still preserving the existing retail. Working with Regency Centers, MV+A was brought onto the redevelopment project in 2016 to master plan the site and guide the carefully planned phases. The phased construction will enable the existing grocer and most of the remaining retail to stay operational while the property is redeveloped.

Residential development in the area started in the 1920’s alongside Dorset Avenue, but The Great Depression and WWII delayed development of nearby retail until the 1950’s. The subsequent auto-centric retail development meant the area lacked a pedestrian-focused town center common to other early twentieth century suburban developments in the region. MV+A’s planning will establish a traditional street grid and multiple buildings facing wide sidewalks, all surrounding a central open space and a public park.

Westbard Toen Center

The first phase of redevelopment will begin with construction of a 124,000 SF, three-story mixed-use retail/office building with a grocery anchor and parking on the top third level, offices and parking on level two, and retail and parking on level one. The construction of a smaller, 1,600 SF retail pavilion facing the public square will follow shortly after the existing grocery building is removed. Later phases will include construction of seventy-two townhouses, a mixed-use residential building with 47,000 SF of retail and 200 residential units, a focal open space, and brand-new public park.

Westbard Toen Center

While Westbard Square will reinvent the decades old shopping center, the project will still appreciate the neighborhood’s history and pay homage to local building materials. The nearby Stoneyhurst Quarry alongside River Road in Bethesda provided architectural building stone for many years prior to the quarry’s closure in the 1980’s. While the Stoneyhurst Quarry is no longer active, Westbard Square will use a similar stone to continue the tradition of using this local material. The first phase of Westbard Square is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2023.


We welcome the newest additions to the MV+A Team, Ardavan Tookaloo and Elizabeth Bezilla.nd fun atmosphere to the surrounding area until the future phases of the project are complete. Pad sites, like larger projects and developments, provide space to enhance local communities.

We’re Back & We’re Hiring!

MV+A is officially back in the office! This month we began a new in-office work schedule built on the lessons learned while working from home during COVID-19. Our perception of how exactly we do our work changed as we proved we can operate in multiple venues. Moving forward, we plan to continue improving our efficiency and capturing the benefits of being together in the office while recognizing the positive aspects of working from home.

Firm Profile

MV+A’s new standard schedule includes the option to work from home on Mondays and utilize ‘core work’ hours from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm that accommodate commuter and childcare schedules. The main idea is to provide flexibility in daily life while still maintaining valuable in-person interactions and collaboration in the office. Professional development, mentorship, feedback, and design flow are just a few aspects of working in the office that are more effective in person than remote. However, working from home for a year made us experts in Microsoft Teams and Zoom!

As always, MV+A’s clients and partners come first, and we expect to continue our exceptional, dependable work for them as we get reacquainted with Metro Center.

We are currently in hiring for the following positions:

or visit the CAREERS page of our website for more information.

DESIGN BRIEF | June 2021

MV+A Recent Retail – Part I: Pad Sites

Large developments are often the most frequently featured projects showcased by many architecture and design firms, including MV+A. We have found, however, that smaller sites and projects can also present exciting design opportunities. A common type of smaller site designed by MV+A are pad sites.

What is a pad site? A pad site is usually a small lot within a larger commercial/retail development that can be leased or sold to a retail operator or developed as a freestanding retail/commercial establishment. Pad sites often include drive-through banks, fast food restaurants, or a Starbucks! Pad sites enliven an existing shopping center and draw more attention and traffic by adding new, highly visible retail spaces.

Cabin John Village

Cabin John’s two pad sites include four tenants connected by a courtyard between them.

MV+A has a long history with the Cabin John Shopping Center site in Potomac, MD – the firm has been working on redevelopment concepts as far back as 2009 and through changes in ownership! In addition to exploring future plans for the site, renovating office buildings, and creating façade concept designs, MV+A has recently designed two new pad site retail buildings at the shopping center.

Individual brand identities come together to announce a quartet of fast casual restaurants.

The new buildings add an additional 10,000 SF of retail and four fast-casual restaurants to Cabin John Village, with a roughly 2,000 SF courtyard connecting the two buildings. A variety of materials, from board-formed concrete to shou sugi ban wood siding, give the new buildings a crisp, modern feel, and served as inspiration for an update to the rest of the center. Unfortunately, pad sites commonly feature buildings with unrelated architecture appearing as a hodgepodge front to a retail development. Cabin John, however, was carefully planned and designed so the two buildings and spaces between them appear as part of a larger whole while allowing individual tenants a unique expression and identity.

Detail of Shake Shack and Cava facades.

Completed in 2018 for our client EDENS, the pad sites act as a new entrance feature, helping to ensure continued success for Cabin John Village, which has been serving this Potomac neighborhood for over fifty years.

Dining in the courtyard between the two pads.

Tysons West Phase III – Interim Retail Buildings

Tysons West’s four pad sites as seen from the Metro station platform, fronting our earlier commercial development featuring a Walmart.

Completed in 2019, MV+A master planned and designed four retail pad buildings and a parking lot at Tysons West, a large, phased development owned by JBG SMITH near the Spring Hill metro station in Tysons, VA. The pad sites are intended to be used as an interim development until the next phase of buildings planned for the larger development are built. MV+A led the design, construction documentation, contract administration, and leasing support for the retail buildings in Phase III, in addition to preparing a comprehensive signage package.

Closeup view of the two pad sites nearest to the Walmart.

The four retail pad buildings totaling 22,000 SF create a secondary draw to the existing mixed-use development anchored by a 24-Hour Fitness and Walmart, which MV+A completed in 2013. The sites help form a defining and easily identifiable ‘front’ for the larger development of which they are a part. With our client Willard Retail, the pad sites bring more convenient retail and services to the corner of Leesburg Pike.

View from Walmart of the pad sites.

While these buildings are temporary, their design incorporates aluminum, steel, and stone details to create vibrant facades to draw shoppers off the trains. The festive canopies bring a liveliness and fun atmosphere to the surrounding area until the future phases of the project are complete. Pad sites, like larger projects and developments, provide space to enhance local communities.

Consistent contemporary design language is used across the pad sites.


We welcome the newest additions to the MV+A Team, Ardavan Tookaloo and Elizabeth Bezilla.nd fun atmosphere to the surrounding area until the future phases of the project are complete. Pad sites, like larger projects and developments, provide space to enhance local communities.

Ardavan Tookaloo, LEED Green Associate

MV+A Role: Architectural Designer
Joined MV+A: April 2021
From: Originally from Tehran, Iran
Schooling: B.S. in Architectural Engineering | University of Art in Tehran, Iran
Master of Architecture | University of Utah
M.S. in Architectural Studies | University of Utah
Interests: Travel, photography, soccer, cooking (especially BBQ), and movies

Elizabeth Bezilla, Associate AIA

MV+A Role: Architectural Designer
Joined MV+A: May 2021
From: Washington, DC
Schooling: The Catholic University of America
Interests: Acting, singing, travel, reading, art, film, and taking care of animals

DESIGN BRIEF | April 2021

Animating Fairfax with 2722 Merrilee Drive

MV+A Architects is kicking off the design of 2722 Merrilee Drive – a 239-unit, seven level mixed-use building adjacent to the Dunn Loring-Merrifield Metro station in Fairfax, VA. Designing and planning for our client, Elm Street Development, MV+A worked with VIKA, Studio 39 Landscape Architecture, and McGuireWoods to lead the rezoning effort for the site approved earlier this year, paving the way for the project to move forward.

2722 Merrilee will extend the exciting development occurring adjacent to the Dunn-Loring Metro further down Merrilee Drive, which connects to the urban shopping district, Mosaic District, to the south. The added development will create an excellent terminus to Halstead Square Road and the Halstead mixed-use development to the east, along with a new private road to the south of the site acting as an extension of Halstead Square Road. In the future, this road can expand and continue all the way to Dorr Avenue.

At the southeast corner of the site, a retail plaza will form the heart of the project surrounded by retail space envisioned for food use and neighborhood serving uses. Outdoor dining and public art will animate the space with seating areas allowing a moment of rest for pedestrians moving along Merrilee Drive.

The frontage along Merrilee will be enlivened by a residential lobby and amenity spaces featuring a generous streetscape including seating areas and street trees with bioretention areas.

On the northeast corner of the site, a new fitness plaza will add public fitness equipment that is in addition to the western building’s interior fitness center.

The building’s interior will consist of a central courtyard space with a swimming pool, communal seating, and cooking areas for the building’s residents.

The simple yet elegant building will feature symmetrical arrangements of smaller bays along its south elevation, which will break down its scale and provide visual interest. Balconies will provide shade and shadow on the façade to activate the exterior.

Along Merrilee Drive, the residential upper levels are set to give the retail and residential lobby below a better pedestrian scale and prominence. Residential terraces and balconies will activate the façade, and the building will be clad in high quality brick with large windows to add to the overall refined design.

This is MV+A’s first project with Elm Street Development, but we are currently working with the developer on other projects as well. We look forward to the beginning of construction on this project and others to come. Construction on 2722 Merrilee Drive is anticipated to begin in 2022.

The simple yet elegant building will feature symmetrical arrangements of smaller bays along its south elevation, which will break down its scale and provide visual interest. Balconies will provide shade and shadow on the façade to activate the exterior.


MV+A Crosses the Atlantic

The Zung family in front of an okapi statue in their Gombe neighborhood of Kinshasa.

For those of you who do not know, MV+A’s very own Russell Zung is working remotely from Africa! Russell and his family moved to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in September of 2020 after his wife took a two-year posting with the State Department in the country’s capital of Kinshasa. Below is a short Q and A with Russell to see how things are going after six months of living there.

How has your role at MV+A shifted while working in Kinshasa?
“I was initially concerned how things would be affected with working remotely when this move was confirmed in January of 2020, but then the COVID-19 shutdowns hit and forced everyone to immediately shift to a work-from-home environment. As a result, the only difference from my current WFH setup from my DC WFH setup is a different internet provider and time zone. In many ways, my role has not changed at all since most of our staff continues to work remotely. The main difference has been my ability to be at job sites to periodically review projects under construction. Fortunately, we have plenty of other skilled architects to step in and provide the site reviews, though I still remain intimately involved in the execution of these projects.”

What have you enjoyed about Kinshasa since moving there?
“First, our apartment is easily twice the size of our twelve-foot-wide DC rowhouse, and I forgot what it was like to not have to literally step over one another during our daily routines. The second is the warmth. I never considered myself a hot weather person, but I must admit it has been nice walking my dog in shorts, a t-shirt, and sandals all year long. Finally, the fact that every day you see something that legitimately surprises you. Kinshasa is a massive city, now the biggest on the African continent with over thirteen million people. I have described it as a hot-mess of a city filled with color, chaos, and characters, and it is always interesting.”

What aspects of Congolese culture have been an adjustment/culture shock?
“There are so many. Functionally, the country is French speaking and very few people speak English. So, if you want to see a guy bumble through the day using broken French phrases, then follow me around and you will see it is possible. Another major difference is that it is a cash culture. Whether it be getting gas, buying groceries, eating at a nice restaurant, or buying furniture, cash is a must. As a result, you must be very conscious of managing your ability to have enough physical cash in hand before you go out. Driving was also an incredibly big shock. The only way to describe it is organized chaos and it all works in flows. So, if you want to cross eight lanes of two-way traffic, you must slowly and methodically move yourself out into the river of traffic and allow the other vehicles to just flow around you.

I also doubt you can imagine the level of poverty in the population – unemployment is estimated to be around 40%. Even those formally employed may only be making $100/month, if they even get paid at all. As a result, there is a massive informal economy. Everyone is out hustling to get by. We live in the commune of Gombe, which is one of the two more affluent parts of the city. Immediately outside of our apartment walls is an informal carwash, a snack stand, two lunch counters, and a barber shop. Each enterprise starts setting up at 6:00 a.m. and they work the entire day, earning just enough to get by. This setup is everywhere throughout the city.

Another unmistakable item is trash. It is nearly impossible to describe the amount of trash in the city, piled in internal water ways, street corners, ditches, and informal dump sites. Only about five months ago have public-use trash receptacles been placed, and I have witnessed the benefit, but there is a long, long way to go.”

What do you miss most about living in DC?

“Hands-down, the Vietnamese food at Eden Center in Falls Church, VA. We would go there almost every weekend and get pho, bún, or bubble tea.”

DESIGN BRIEF | March 2021

Broad and Washington – A Transformative Site in Falls Church

View of proposed development from the intersection of Broad Street and Washington Street

MV+A Architects is continuing its long history of working in the City of Falls Church. Completed by the firm in 2007, the notable 300,000-square-foot project Northgate, standing proud along Lee Highway, invites you into the city. Now, we are excited to announce that in late January 2021, the Falls Church City Council unanimously approved our newest project with Insight Property Group – Broad and Washington. This approval allows us to join other recently built mixed-use projects from the past decade along the city’s two major thoroughfares. Together, these projects are helping transform Falls Church into a more walkable, pedestrian friendly, programmatically diverse, socially and culturally significant destination for the city and the larger metropolitan region.

Aerial view of the Unity and Justice Plaza

Our latest venture at the intersection of Broad Street (Route7) and Washington Street (Route 29) is anchored by a public plaza at the intersection. The plaza, conceptualized as the ‘Unity and Justice’ plaza, will commemorate the fight for civil rights and the historic role of Falls Church residents. If the plaza acts as a foreground for the project, it has some hefty supporting acts; one of them being our planned main retail anchor, Whole Foods Market, that will stretch along a significant portion of Broad Street. The project will also be home to a local favorite and acclaimed theater group, Creative Cauldron! Along with State Theater, farmers markets, and other numerous local, social, and cultural institutions, Broad and Washington will make this corner of Falls Church a destination in its own right. Above it all, 339 residential apartments, some with live/work capabilities, will also usher in a new influx of residents. Currently an intersection plagued with car traffic, MV+A’s Broad and Washington project will enable residents and neighbors to seamlessly live, play, and work in one area.

View along East Broad Street

UPDATE – MV+A Promotions

MV+A is proud to announce the promotions of Andy Merlo and Kuan Lo to the position of Associate. Promoted in December 2020, Andy and Kuan started the new year 2021 with expanded leadership roles on their own project teams and within the firm.

Andy Merlo, AIA

MVA Team | Andy Merlo

Andy Merlo joined MV+A in 2013 as a Project Architect, and now he joins the Associate team bringing knowledge and a particular interest toward mixed-use urban projects, adaptive reuse, and historic preservation. Andy’s notable work on projects such as Westbard, 717 H Street, and Spring House Village exemplify the skillsets he will use to guide MV+A’s growth and expertise.

Kuan Lo, AIA, Leed AP

Kuan Lo rejoined MV+A Architects as an Associate at the end of 2020. With a focus on exceptional architectural design displayed through numerous urban retail and mixed-use projects such as Halley Rise, East Liberty, Tysons West Phase II, and Crossroads at Towson Row, Kuan will continue to lead with effective and innovative design solutions elevating MV+A’s high standards in design and planning.

DESIGN BRIEF | February 2021

2020 Year in Review

Awards Received: 3
Projects Completed: 4
Projects Under Construction: 9
New Employees: 4
Babies Born: 2
Virtual Book Clubs: 3
Pets Adopted: 3
African Outposts: 1

MV+A is grateful to have accomplished what we did in 2020. The firm as a whole grew professionally as we added new projects and completed existing ones, while receiving much appreciated recognition and awards in the process. Personally, the MV+A team grew to understand the necessity of patience and understanding as we, along with everyone else, worked hard, adapted, and simply tried our best. Below highlights some of our work as we valiantly trudged through 2020, along with what we look forward to in 2021.

2020 Awards

WFM The Boro

Whole Foods Market – The Boro

Tysons, VA

Working with general contractor, L.F. Jennings, Inc., MV+A received The Associated Builders and Contractor’s (ABC) Best Retail/Interiors award for Excellence in Construction in the Metro Washington area.

WFM West Broad Street

Whole Foods Market – West Broad Street

Richmond, VA

The Greater Richmond Association for Commercial Real Estate (GRACRE) awarded the Whole Foods, located in The Sauer Center development near the Fan District, the 2020 Project of the Year Award. More details regarding both new Whole Foods locations can be found here.

Check out last month’s Design Brief for MV+A’s other award-winning project, Chapman Stables. The project won the D.C. Preservation League’s 2020 District of Columbia Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation.

Completed in 2020

Liberty Place

Liberty Place

Fredericksburg, VA

WFM Florida Ave

Whole Foods Market – Florida Avenue

Washington, DC

Expected 2021 Completion

Faraday Park

Faraday Park East and West

Reston, VA

Crossroads at Towson Row

Crossroads at Towson Row

Towson, MD

Halley Rise Block F

Halley Rise – Block F

Reston, VA

Riverdale Park Station Building 5

Riverdale Park Station – Building 5

Riverdale Park, MD

In addition to 2020 consisting of substantial construction activity, there was also considerable planning and entitlement processes happening behind the scenes. Keep an eye out for a future Design Brief featuring recent MV+A projects securing entitlements.

Looking back on 2020, it is hard to believe it has almost been a full year since the office has (fortunately) been working remotely. As we continue to work from home, we value our clients, consultants, and partners, and appreciate the opportunity to stay busy during this tumultuous time. As for 2021 – the show must go on!

DESIGN BRIEF | January 2021

Washington, DC

DESIGN BRIEF | December 2020

Historic Preservation – 717 H St.

You can find 717 H St., a future retail/boutique office project, on a prominent corner in Washington DC’s Chinatown section of the Downtown Historic District. Construction is projected to start in early 2021 on the rehabilitation of what was originally three separate mid-to-late nineteenth century brick buildings. MV+A has been working with the real estate investment firm L3 Capital, who purchased the site in 2019 to rehabilitate the outdated structure and create a vibrant mixed-use building. The three original brick buildings had, in fact, previously been combined into one structure and significantly modified in the interior, with only minor changes to the facades. The circa 1868 Italianate rowhouse facing H St. has a simple facade with a bracketed cornice, while the circa 1888 Queen Anne rowhouse on the corner of 8th and H St. NW is far more exuberant – with decorative brickwork, terra cotta panels, bay windows, and a prominent round tower on the corner. The third building in the assemblage is a modest two-story structure facing 8th St., which was built circa 1885 as a stable building.

717 H Street

Rendering of the H and 8th St. corner*

Having been constructed at different times and with various additions and alterations over time, MV+A’s project scope includes leveling floors and grading for ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) access, restoration of the exterior facades, and a complete utility and code upgrade. The ground floor will contain one to two retail spaces, which will take advantage of the very wide sidewalk on 8th St., creating a new entrance to what will become second and third floor office spaces.

717 H Street

Restored H St. facade with new retail entrance storefronts*

717 H Street

8th St. view with retail and office entrances, along with third floor office addition with outdoor terrace*

The rehabilitation project, including a small addition on top of the stable building, has already gone through full Historic Preservation Review Board and Chinatown approvals. The third floor addition will have an outdoor terrace and allow access to the office floors from a new elevator and 8th St. lobby. The entrance to the office lobby includes a custom metal screen wall incorporating Chinese characters and a contemporary graphic of the 717 H project name. *Renderings provided by OKW Architects

717 H Street

New third floor addition over original stable building

Office lobby entrance on 8th St. with decorative screen wall

Historic Preservation Award – Chapman Stables

Last month, MV+A was awarded a DC Preservation League’s 2020 District of Columbia Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation. Working with Studio Twenty Seven Architecture and Four Points Development, MV+A prepared a Preservation Plan for the award-winning project, Chapman Stables.

MV+A was brought on to the Chapman Stables project team at the beginning of design to evaluate the historic structure and prepare a Preservation Plan. Our Plan guided the design and rehabilitation of the historic building features for the restored condominium community located in the heart of Truxton Circle in Washington, DC. In the image video link below from the Preservation League’s virtual award ceremony, Senior Associate, Eleanor Krause, discusses the scope and history of the project.

View the 2020 District of Columbia Awards for Excellence in Historic Preservation video here.

Chapman Stables

Completed Chapman Stables Condominium

Chapman Stables

Before photograph of the Chapman Stables North St. facade

DESIGN BRIEF | November 2020

Over 1,000 Units Under Construction – Part Two

In Part One of last month’s Design Brief, we revisited the recent construction status and development of two Virginia projects: Faraday Park and Halley Rise – Block F. In this Part Two, Maryland projects Towson Crossroads and Riverdale Park Station conclude our review of MV+A’s summer of 1,000 units under construction.

Towson Crossroads

Crossroads at Towson Row Under Construction

Status: With concrete work recently completed, the wood framed portion of the building is planned to be topped out on the eighth floor by the end of October. Windows have been installed on 50% of the student housing portion of the project, while the exterior envelope finishes (brick and storefront) are set to begin following the exterior framing and sheathing.

Crossroads at Towson Row Under Construction

Development: Crossroads, located in the bustling college town and county seat of Towson, MD, anchors a 1.2 million sq. ft. mixed-use development called Towson Row. As the Architect of Record, MV+A has planned and designed the mixed-use building featuring a Whole Foods Market, additional in-line retail facing an urban plaza, and five stories of residential. Expected completion date for the project is August 2021.

Crossroads at Towson Row Under Construction

Riverdale Park Station – Building 5

Riverdale Park Station Building 5 Under Construction

Status: Riverdale Park Station’s Building 5 is developing into a significant presence in the heart of the site. The building’s detailed masonry facade is nearing completion as the secondary facade elements are now being installed. Meanwhile, apartments interiors are being finished and the public amenity spaces are being framed in preparation for finishes. The concrete and stick-framed apartment building with a central courtyard also includes wings that wrap the large parking garage completed in an earlier phase of construction.

Riverdale Park Station Building 5 Under Construction
Riverdale Park Station Building 5 Under Construction

Development: MV+A took on many roles for this project located in Riverdale, MD. The role as Master Planner and Architect included designing the plan for the thirty-eight-acre site, as well as all commercial and multi-family buildings and the interior for the Whole Foods Market. MV+A was also the Design Architect for the 119 townhouses developed by Stanley Martin Homes. Construction of Building 5 has a projected completion in spring 2021.

Riverdale Park Station Building 5 Under Construction

Check out the list of awards given to Riverdale Park Station here.

Over 1,000 Units Under Construction – Part Two

Meet the newest member of the MV+A Team, Harini Chandrasekhar!


Originally an intern with MV+A last summer, Harini officially started her role as an Architectural Designer at the firm this fall. She recently graduated from Virginia Tech’s Master of Architecture program, with her thesis “A Journey Through a Story – Remembering to be a Child Again with The Little Prince” exploring the spatial interpretation of the core themes of the children’s book The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Congratulations on your graduation and thesis, Harini! We are glad to have you back.

DESIGN BRIEF | October 2020

Over 1,000 Units Under Construction – Part One

MV+A had over 1,000 units under construction in the summer of 2020. Despite challenges posed by COVID-19, MV+A was able to coordinate with construction teams to progress on schedule with our projects. Projects included in this accomplishment were Faraday Park, Halley Rise – Block F, Riverdale Park Station, and Towson Row. With site locations in Virginia and Maryland, Design Briefs Part One and Part Two will revisit the development of each project along with their current construction status.

Faraday Park

Faraday Park Under Construction

Status: The West building facades are nearing completion with interior unit finishes underway, including a variety of built-ins from desks to bars. The pool, cabana, and amenity roof deck on top of the precast garage are also being framed and finished. The East building garage addition precast is complete, with residential masonry in progress along with unit drywall, doors, and trim going in. The glazed sunroom extending into the courtyard is framed with its exposed steel beams, and it will house the amenity dining room with a direct connection to the courtyard plaza amenity.

Faraday Park Under Construction

Development: Faraday Park East and West is a redevelopment of a seven-acre site in Reston, VA. Once complete, the site will have two seven-story rental apartment buildings with ground floor retail, as well as twenty-six townhouses arranged around a network of public parks. MV+A is the Architect for the project, master-planned the site, and secured entitlements. Faraday Park is expected to be complete in early spring 2021.

Faraday Park Under Construction

Halley Rise – Block F

Halley Rise Block F Construction

Status: With the entire super structure complete, a tower crane is scheduled to come down the first week in October. The exterior building skin work is progressing, with the installation of the roofing, residential windows, and brick veneer following closely behind. Once the building is weather tight, the focus will shift to the interior and finishing of the 350+ residential units and amenity spaces.

Halley Rise Block F Construction

Development: MV+A designed the master plan for the entire thirty-six-acre site in Reston, VA. The overall development is planned to include 1.9 million sq. ft. of office space, 1,630 residential units, a 200-key hotel, and 300,000 sq. ft. of retail and entertainment, including an 80,000 sq. ft. urban-format Wegmans. MV+A is also the Architect for Block F, which includes 350 units and Wegmans. Substantial completion of the first building in Halley Rise is anticipated in late 2021.

Halley Rise Block F Construction

Stay tuned for next month’s Design Brief featuring Part Two for projects in Maryland!

DESIGN BRIEF | August 2020

A Fresh Opening – Whole Foods Market – Florida Avenue

WFM Florida Ave

MV+A projects are often inspired by the context that surrounds them. In this case, the recently opened Whole Foods Market on Florida Avenue in Washington, D.C. is inspired by the rich, long history of the surrounding neighborhood. The store is located along the U Street corridor, once known as “Black Broadway,” which showcased the talents of many African American artists in the beginning of the 20th Century and started D.C.’s Black Renaissance.

WFM Florida Ave
WFM Florida Ave

Anchored by the Lincoln Theater, the newly restored Howard Theater, and the historic Howard University, this supermarket plays off the theater concept to act as a showcase for the array of products sold at Whole Foods. A black and white canvas with pops of color in each department greets shoppers as they navigate through the interior. Near the back of the store, a black box beer and wine department as well as a framed venue showcasing local vendors is the final act before exiting the store. An indoor café is also featured with a self-service coffee bar with a view of the nearby Howard University dorms.

WFM Florida Ave

The theater analogy extends to the exterior design concept where MV+A assisted the Architect of Record with the design of the retail exterior. An elevated mezzanine terrace with seating, outdoor sidewalk seating, and floor to ceiling windows all serve to act as tiered theater seating with a window to view the constantly evolving Shaw/U street neighborhood. Read more about the design of the building exterior here.

WFM Florida Ave
WFM Florida Ave

Thank you to our team members who worked tirelessly to get this new Whole Foods Market location ready for opening last month. As we work from home and experience the restrictions forced by COVID-19, we are continually grateful and proud for what our team is able to accomplish.

WFM Florida Ave