COVID-19 Response

NEWS   |   March 17, 2020

Washington, DC

MVA Office Covid-19

Dear valued MV+A clients, consultants, and partners:

In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) health emergency and in accordance with the CDC and local government guidelines, MV+A Architects has provided a means for all employees to safely and effectively work from home for the next several weeks. A work-from-home protocol went into effect on Monday, March 16th. While the office remains open to key personnel, our employees, and our community’s health and well-being are of the utmost concern. Any and all project meetings will be conducted remotely until further notice to create distancing as recommended by the CDC.

MV+A Architects remains committed to our clients, consultants, and projects, and appreciates the opportunity to stay busy during this tumultuous time. We are confident that the current circumstances will create minimal disruption to the dedication and delivery of our projects and deadlines.

To contact MV+A team members, please reach out via email or cell. Employee cell phone numbers are provided in their email signature. And please, reach out to me directly with any questions or concerns.

Thank you for entrusting MV+A. We are wishing good health to you and your families and look forward to providing our continued support and dedication.

Sincerely,
Jim Voelzke, FAIA, LEED AP
Principal

DESIGN BRIEF | January 2020

At the beginning of a new decade, MV+A celebrates projects completed in the past year and the many projects currently under construction.  We look forward to 2020 and the exciting new progress it brings.

Under Construction

Halley Rise

Reston, VA

Halley Rise | Reston, VA

Starting in 2017, MV+A has taken on different roles for the 36-acre mixed-use, transit-oriented development, including securing entitlements, Master Planner for the site’s conceptual design, and Architect of Record & Design Architect for Block F. Included in The Washington Business Journal’s “The D.C. Area’s Top 10 Construction Projects” this year, we look forward to the building’s expected completion in 2022.

Halley Rise | Reston, VA
Halley Rise | Reston, VA

Faraday Park

Reston, VA

Michael Faraday | Wiehle Reston Station, VA

Both the East and West buildings of Faraday Park have been topped out in the final phase of construction this year, and there is an expected completion date in the spring of 2021. MV+A is the Architect for the project, planned the conceptual design, and secured entitlements.

Michael Faraday | Reston, VA
Michael Faraday | Reston, VA

Liberty Place

Fredericksburg, VA

Liberty Place | Fredericksburg, Virginia

After a number of program and design changes, the Liberty Place project is moving quickly through construction of a mixed-use office and retail building this year, along with a five-story parking garage on a city block located at the edge of Fredericksburg’s Historic District.

Liberty Place | Fredericksburg, Virginia
Liberty Place | Fredericksburg, Virginia
Liberty Place | Fredericksburg, Virginia

Recently Completed

Whole Foods Market – The Boro in Tyson’s Corner

McLean, VA

WFM | The Boro, Tysons, VA

Opened in October of 2019, this 70,000 sq. ft. Mid-Atlantic flagship location is part of the ongoing redevelopment of Tysons, located a few blocks from the ongoing MV+A development at Tysons West. As the Architect and Designer of the store, the layout features a wide array of spaces to engage with the community, from an arcade and pub on the mezzanine to local vendor pop-up venues near the store entrance.

WFM | The Boro, Tysons, VA
WFM | The Boro, Tysons, VA

Whole Foods Market – The Boro in Tyson’s Corner

McLean, VA

WFM | Richmond, VA

Formerly a Pleasant’s Hardware, the interior design of the 47,000 sq. ft. store includes the original brick façade, wooden beams, and other elements of the historic Kaufman building. Yesterday marked the grand opening at the The Sauer Center!

WFM | Richmond, VA
WFM | Richmond, VA

MV+A Growth

At thirty-two employees, MV+A has more people on its team than ever before.  With five employees joining in 2019 and two already in 2020, the office needed to expand and add more desks and seating. Below is the new setup with additional workstations and window seating to accommodate our diverse and growing team!

MVA-Office 2019 Year in Review
MVA-Office 2019 Year in Review

DESIGN BRIEF | December 2019

The Season of Giving

Washington, DC

November and December mark the time for MV+A’s “Season of Giving.” While we contribute to other charities throughout the year, these months truly bring the office together to give back to the Washington Metropolitan Area community. Starting in November on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, MV+A volunteers take part in CANstruction. CANstruction is an international hunger relief charity that organizes companies to contribute to their local city food bank by creating canned food sculptures. CANstruction DC, partnered with the Washington Architectural Foundation (WAF), donates the competition canned goods to the Capital Area Food Bank. MV+A has also been working with DC’s Food Bank this year to design a mobile grocery truck to help their mission to feed the city’s population struggling with hunger and food insecurity.

CANstruction 2019

This is the tenth year that MV+A has participated in CANstruction. Planning for the event begins early in the summer when the year’s theme is announced by WAF. A pizza-fueled brainstorming session determined this year’s response to the “1980’s” theme – an eight-foot tall Smurf House! MV+A’s twenty-two Smurf team members then designed the giant mushroom sculpture in Sketchup, followed by CAD plan templates for all twenty-four levels of cans and a work session to cut the house layers in foam board and plywood. Other volunteers shopped and found cans in all the right sizes and colors to create the final sculpture.

CANstruction 2019

This year’s entry won the prize for Structural Ingenuity, with technical help on our cantilevered mushroom cap from our friends at Therrien Waddell Construction. Most importantly, the final Smurf-tastic house contributed 3,177 cans of tomatoes, peas, peaches, green beans, corn and other shelf-stable food and drink items.

CANstruction 2019

Every December for the past five years, MV+A has also participated in the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program. This year we were able to sponsor five children (“Angels”) by providing holiday gifts to local families in need of assistance during the holiday season. Once gifts are collected in the office, we fully pack an employee’s car to drive the donations to the Salvation Army Warehouse in Hyattsville, MD. If your office is looking for a way to come together during the holiday season, we highly recommend this program!

Season Giving

From all of us at MV+A Architects, we wish you a happy holiday season and all the best in 2020.

Season Giving

DESIGN BRIEF | October 2019

Forty and Flourishing

Washington, DC

This year marks MV+A’s fortieth year in business, and these past few months of 2019 have highlighted just how much the firm has expanded and flourished. MV+A always encourages and supports our team members’ growth and professional development to see them excel their careers and further the firm’s profile as an established yet exciting place to work in Washington, DC. This month we highlight some major employee milestones along with a few updates on MV+A firm culture.

MVA Team | Russell Zung

We are extremely excited to announce that Russell Zung, AIA, LEED AP, was promoted from Senior Associate to Principal last month, a promotion that recognizes the expanding leadership role that Russell has taken in the firm since joining MV+A in 2013. It is the first time in eleven years that MV+A has added a new Principal to the firm. Russell’s experience with a variety of project types and scales, natural leadership style, and responsive and open communication skills made him a clear choice for this new role.  As MV+A grows into our fifth decade, Russell will be helping Jim Voelzke to steer that growth and continue our push for excellence.  Congratulations, Russell!

Colleen Quinn

Employees Colleen Korp, AIA, LEED Green Assoc., and Quinn Tshudy, LEED Green Assoc., also made professional advancements recently. Taking her first Architect Registration Examination (ARE) exam in August 2017, Colleen passed her final one this past August to become a licensed architect. She is now a full member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and is putting that knowledge to work as a Project Architect on several MV+A projects. Quinn confirmed her expertise in green building principles by passing the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) exam. Now a LEED Green Associate, Quinn’s credential denotes proficiency in today’s sustainable design, construction, and operations standards. Congratulations to both Colleen and Quinn! We look forward to their continued success as key members of the MV+A team.

This fall, MV+A took three different office “field trips” to explore the DC metro community and see MV+A work in progress.

Michael Faraday | Reston, VA
Michael Faraday | Reston, VA

In October, most of the firm boarded the Silver Line to take a trip to see MV+A’s Faraday project under construction in Reston, VA. Wearing their boots, vests, and official MV+A hard hats, the timing was perfect to be able to see many different stages of the construction process on one site, including concrete foundations and podium, the placement of precast tees, laying up of masonry shafts, wood framing, and air barrier installation. It was great for our emerging professional team members to see the work in progress with Associates and Senior Architects to explain all the action. Thank you to Kalinda for leading the tour.

Forty

In August, the firm took its annual fifteen-minute walk to the National Building Museum for their Summer Block Party installation. Lawn, created by the LAB at Rockwell Group, allowed us to see the design of the museum up close through the LAB’s scaffolding superstructure, and then kick back after work in hammocks suspended from the 100-foot-tall ceiling grid.

Forty

Finally, a DC summer would have not been complete without the MV+A team and extended family at a Nationals game. Despite the heat, baseball in the Nation’s Capital is always fun, and we were able to cheer on the Nationals as they made their way towards playoffs and then the World Series. Let’s Go Nats!

CANstruction 2018 Year

It has been a great summer and fall of office expansion and bonding, and we now look forward to the holidays and the season of giving. Stay tuned to see how we do at this year’s CANstruction and our additional project with the Capital Area Food Bank.

DESIGN BRIEF | September 2019

Crossroads at Towson Row

Towson, MD

Towson, Maryland, is transforming into a bustling college town that will rival the most livable towns across the nation. Crossroads, jointly developed by Gilbane and Greenberg Gibbons, anchors the 1.2 million sf. mixed-use development called Towson Row by Master Developer Greenberg Gibbons. It is prominently found at the intersection of two major streets—York Road and Towsontown Boulevard—at the southern gateway into Downtown Towson. Here, MV+A was tasked with the challenge of planning and designing a Whole Foods Market and plaza facing in-line retail with stick-built residential atop it all.

Contextual plan view of Towson Row with Crossroads at the intersection of East Towsontown Boulevard and York Road

The tight urban building site presents several challenges, most notably a 35′ height difference across the site, activity wanted all around the perimeter, and the existence of a historic railroad abutment. MV+A was able to make creative use of the grade difference across the site by stacking the grocer above plaza-facing retail and residential lobby programs. This arrangement makes use of the rapidly rising sidewalks around the building to allow all retailers, including the grocer, and the residential lobby to have direct access from the sidewalks. While this arrangement creates the desired all-around perimeter activation, the nature of that activation varies as one walks around the block. A much quieter experience with the residential lobby lining the majority of the York road frontage changes to a plaza-fronting retail experience along Towsontown Boulevard and eventually culminates in the Whole Foods Market experience along the higher, newly planned Towson Row Avenue at the center of the development.

View from the intersection of East Towsontown Boulevard and York Road

The linear plaza along Towsontown Boulevard provides much needed outdoor space for the community and allows the retail programming to spill out into the outdoors. The plaza extends all the way east and incorporates within its footprint the historic railroad abutment found at the previously mentioned southern gateway. The building corner here is carved to acknowledge the existence of the abutment and while it functions as a contrasting background to the abutment, the architecture language here has been devised to give the viewer a layered timeline of the past and the future at this site. As Downtown Towson is being made over, MV+A considers itself fortunate to have a hand in sculpting its future.

 

Click here for a brief overview of the project.

Public spaces, amenities and design are a focus of Baltimore County's Design Review Panel

New Employees

Antonio Lopez

MV+A Role: Architectural Designer supporting the technical aspects of commercial spaces, multi-family buildings, and historical buildings.
From:  Michoacán, Mexico
Schooling: Bachelor and Master of Architecture and Fine Arts| Bowling Green State University
Joined MV+A: July 2019
Hobbies Outside of Work: Collecting and researching Victorian antiques and building outdoor sculptures.

Ellen Delaney

MV+A Role: Architectural Designer for multi-family residential projects, focusing on unit design.
From: Hamden, CT
Schooling: Undergraduate | Georgetown University
Master of Architecture| The Catholic University of America
Joined MV+A: July 2019
Hobbies Outside of Work: Painting abstract landscapes and cycling

DESIGN BRIEF | August 2019

MV+A Gets Deals Done – Entitlements – Part 2

Expanding on our journey through entitlement enlightenment, let’s take a look at how the entitlement process has shaped aspects of some MV+A projects.

East Liberty, Pittsburgh, PA

The project site’s odd configuration, besides being hard to develop, swaddled an interior neighborhood park – a curious and not uncommon feature of planning in the East Liberty neighborhood. The project site and adjoining interior park parcels required reshaping to work better with today’s development standards while delivering an improved park experience.

East Liberty | Pittsburgh, PA
View from Penn Avenue and South Saint Clair Street.

The first few solutions unfortunately did not win any fans. Matters worsened and the courts got involved. Mediation was then suggested to find a workable solution that would help retain millions of dollars of investment in the community. The development team entered mediation along with members of the public, countless neighborhood groups, and the city planning department.  MV+A assisted the team for several months of debates and discussion helping lead to a plan that allowed viable development to have a shot, while also improving access to the neighborhood park. With mediation wrapped up, the plan won PLDP (Preliminary Land Development Plan) approval followed by FLDP (Final Land Development Plan) approval for Phase I. Phase I, featuring a Whole Foods Market and approximately 260,000sf of Office space is close to breaking ground. What seemed like an endless couple of months in mediation is resulting in a real-life project that everyone involved can be proud of.  Being patient, having an open mind and making use of all the opportunities on the table was certainly the best way forward for the East Liberty entitlement process.

 

Click here for a brief overview of the project.

East Liberty | Pittsburgh, PA
New site plan concentrating development along Penn Avenue with the internal park daylighting along Euclid street and a newly introduced South Saint Clair Street and Eva Street creating urban sized city blocks. New site plan layout concentrating development along Penn Avenue with the internal park daylighting along Euclid street.

Many jurisdictions are requiring greater oversight for design on practically all projects – for example, Baltimore County’s Design Review Panel process or Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission’s oversight to ensure viable additions to their jurisdiction. Some developments trigger the requirement for entitlements when they are sited in specific locations, overlay districts, or are of a specific size or level of intensity, prompting local jurisdictions to want additional oversight of the design and planning. Generally, locales want to understand what public benefits a project will provide in return for added density. The paths to realizing projects vary depending on the jurisdictions, and they in turn determine how the design team approaches the entitlements phase of the project.

Crossroads at Towson Row, Towson MD

Oversight and approval by Baltimore County’s Design Review Panel is required for practically every project in the county. The objectives of the panel are to directly improve design quality and to allow members of the public and the committee to have a say in the design and development of their community. The process involves constant communication and numerous meetings with Baltimore County’s Planning department with the goal of a successful presentation to the Design Review Panel. These earlier meetings with the Planning department provide a unique test to the design and planning of the project while also understanding the County’s aspirations for a particular site.

The Towson Row project is comprised of a number of buildings with MV+A’s Crossroads building featuring a Whole Foods Market, other retail, and rental apartments. The Planning department focused on accessibility around and between the buildings to allow for better integration into the Downtown neighborhood. Also of concern was a historic railroad abutment at an important corner of the building and the development team’s solution to integrate such an element. The project received Design Review Panel approval with a requirement that the development team continue working with the Planning department. This follow-up allows MV+A to present additional details about the presented design and continues to allow the county to have a role in ensuring the design intent is carried through to final construction. The project is currently being detailed and is due to break ground in the last quarter of 2019. Designing and building a project in Baltimore County involves an ongoing effort, with the participation and willingness of all parties involved, so that the completed project effectively meets the goals of the community for that project.

 

Click here for a brief overview of the project.

Public spaces, amenities and design are a focus of Baltimore County's Design Review Panel

Broad and Washington, Falls Church, VA

The project located at the intersection of ‘main’ and ‘main’ in Falls Church was required to go through entitlements to allow for 1) mixed-use development that 2) required portions of the project to go over the height limit. The entitlement process in Falls Church takes the development team down a lengthy, but well-defined path that includes city council meetings, boards and committees, site walks, meetings with neighbors, and presentations to the general public. As of today, this intersection is primarily known for traffic passing thru rather than as an important destination. MV+A felt strongly that this would be a chance to change the narrative and recapture this intersection as an active, pedestrian oriented, urban destination. The design and program followed suit to put this vision into play.

Broad & Washington | Fall Church, VA
Broad & Washington | Fall Church, VA

The development team received a long list of comments at every stage of the entitlement process. Some of the comments challenged MV+A to find a way to provide a public gathering space or plaza, and others tasked us to reduce the impact of the project on the surrounding single-family properties. Considering the challenges of the tight site, the development team responded by converting a raised private courtyard into a publicly accessible plaza. Subsequent meetings with council members, city staff, boards and committees improved accessibility, visibility and connections to the plaza from various destinations around the project. Working with the immediate neighbors, several solutions were proposed for the massing of the building, with the development team accepting a neighbor’s suggestion to flip the courtyard to face the neighborhood thereby presenting a softer edge. The strategy the development team ended up following at Broad and Washington was to take a hard look at what MV+A initially planned and designed and allow those assets to be shaped by the larger population for the greater good of the community.

 

Click here for a brief overview of the project.

Before/After: Private courtyards become public-access plazas and courtyards flip to face the neighborhood

Lessons learned – The opportunity to shape projects can arrive at any time and sometimes from the unlikeliest of places. The best strategy is to keep an open mind and look for solutions that have traction with the larger audience while also satisfying the goals of the development. Every single time MV+A has the opportunity to meet members of the planning committee, neighborhood groups, or the general public is an opportunity to hear critiques and meet challenges of the plan on the drawing board.

Featured Employee – Kai Hu

Kai Hu, LEED Green Assoc., ASAI, joined MV+A in 2016 with over twenty years of national and international experience in mixed-use and planning. He has helped guide MV+A’s success as a Senior Architectural Designer, and his work can be seen in projects such as The Shops at Penn Branch, Liberty Place, and Rock Spring Center retail.

The story behind the photo:

In this photo, I was standing in front of a painting that I did for a studio project at Notre Dame, in which I had to design a new courtyard for the Bamante-designed Tempietto in Rome. I used the figure of Euclid in Raphael’s painting, School of Athens, in my rendering – this created another layer, as Raphael was a student of Bramante and actually used Bramante as a model to paint Euclid.”

What inspires you as an architect?:

Like most people of my generation in China, my parents largely chose my career path for me. Fortunately, this profession fits me well. Since childhood, I have loved all kinds of natural things around me, from plants to animals, and my inspiration for the built environment is our natural environment. Where I was in Beijing in the 1970’s was rural compared to today’s urbanization, so I still had opportunities to enjoy and memorize those beautiful natural things.”

DESIGN BRIEF | July 2019

MV+A Gets Deals Done – Entitlements

Long before the ribbon cutting ceremony, projects may start with a napkin sketch or back of the envelope calculations trying to determine the viability of an idea. It’s commonplace to think that nurturing these nascent ideas in the studio directly leads to a completed project a few years down the road. In reality, the linear process from conceiving projects to starting design to getting them built often requires an additional step – usually referred to as “securing entitlements.”

While it may have been a rare project that needed to go through this phase in the past, it is becoming more and more commonplace and is being integrated as a usual first step in the project’s path to becoming realized. So, what are entitlements and how do they impact a project? We are hoping to shed some light on our experience with securing entitlements with the following two-part series.

Woodland Park Crossing Entitlements
Woodland Park Crossing Entitlements

PART 1:  Defining “en·ti·tle·ment”

/inˈtīdlmənt, enˈtīdlmənt/
noun
plural noun: entitlements

the fact of having a right to something.
“full entitlement to fees and maintenance should be offered”
synonyms: right, prerogative, claim, title, license

the amount to which a person has a right.
“annual leave entitlement
synonyms: allowance, allocation, allotment, quota, ration, grant, limit

Mcmillan Sand Filtration Site Redevelopment Entitlements
Mcmillan Sand Filtration Site Redevelopment Entitlements

There is no single reason or singular way in which this phase unfolds. Every jurisdiction has its own policies and regulations to be met. One reason could be the nature of single use zoning or preferential zoning where a few uses are favored in lieu of others. If you look around today, zoning laws frequently have not yet caught up with the idea of mixed-use development. Zoning laws tend to stay on the books for a long time, resulting in the mismatch between zoning laws and the reality of real estate development, construction and codes. Some zoning laws may allow too much or too little density but are out of sync with what building codes and established construction techniques allow in the industry. For example, being allowed to go higher than 85’ in a market where stick-built wood construction tops out at 85 feet is not necessarily helpful. Conversely, lower height limits do not maximize the efficiency of building stick-built wood projects where there is a market for additional density.

Riverdale Park Station Entitlements
Riverdale Park Station Entitlements

Many jurisdictions are requiring greater oversight for design on practically all projects – for example, Baltimore County’s Design Review Panel process or Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission’s oversight to ensure viable additions to their jurisdiction. Some developments trigger the requirement for entitlements when they are sited in specific locations, overlay districts, or are of a specific size or level of intensity, prompting local jurisdictions to want additional oversight of the design and planning. Generally, locales want to understand what public benefits a project will provide in return for added density. The paths to realizing projects vary depending on the jurisdictions, and they in turn determine how the design team approaches the entitlements phase of the project.

Halley Rise Entitlements
Halley Rise Entitlements

One of MV+A’s biggest realizations is that there is value to be added to the project in garnering reactions from a wide range of interested parties that are directly or indirectly connected to the project. Hearing from the public, city/county council persons, and administrative staff allows the design team to test the assumptions made during the early planning process and can help shape the project. In some cases, the ”wants” of a community are clearly spelled out, while in others, the design team has to use its experience and proficiency to help along the conversation to facilitate reaching decisions that most parties can agree add value to the project. But it’s not always smooth sailing or value-adding. Such engagements can be contentious, and the design team needs to be prepared for occasional disgruntlement and disappointment.

Woodland Park Crossing Entitlements
Woodland Park Crossing Entitlements

No matter the journey, this phase is not a get-through-it moment. It should be seen as the right time for the broader community to engage with the project and allow the design team to shape the project for a better outcome. At MV+A, we relish this process and have realized that engaging the broader community presents a unique opportunity for engagement and buy-in for the overall vision.

Stay tuned for Part 2 on Entitlements in next month’s design brief, which will shed light on MV+A’s experience with community engagement and its impact on the planning and design of our projects.

New Hires!

Quinn Tshudy

Quinn Entitlements
Quinn Entitlements

MV+A Role: Interior Architectural Designer with a current focus on East Liberty, Westwood, and Whole Foods Markets.
From: Erie, PA
Schooling: Bachelor of Interior Architecture | Chatham University
Certificate in Healthier Materials and Sustainable Buildings | Parsons School of Design
Joined MV+A: July 2019
Hobbies Outside of Work: Scenic design, salsa dancing, and yoga.

Nika Mirrafie

Nika Entitlements
Nika Entitlements

MV+A Role: Architectural Designer starting to work on 4 Choke Cherry Road and Rock Spring Center.
From: Salt Lake City, Utah
Schooling: Bachelor of Science in Urban Planning | University of Utah
Master of Architecture | University of Miami
Joined MV+A: July 2019
Hobbies Outside of Work: Painting abstract art, modeling making, cooking, skiing, hiking, and outdoor recreation.

DESIGN BRIEF | June 2019

The Evolution of Whole Foods Markets

MV+A has been designing both urban and suburban stores for Whole Foods Markets since they entered the DC market in 1996. Looking back at some of our favorite projects, a common thread develops of well-designed WFM stores acting as a catalyst for community growth and development, wherever the location. From Florida to Ohio, inner cities and rural suburbs, each store is uniquely designed to relate to its context, both with the buildings and the store interiors, all designed by MV+A.

P Street, Washington, DC | completed 2000

NPR Store Concept WFM | P Street, Washington, DC
WFM | P Street, Washington, DC
WFM | P Street, Washington, DC
WFM | P Street, Washington, DC

One of MV+A’s early projects for Whole Foods Market is a shining example of how good architecture can be a catalyst for change in a community. Built along the 14th Street corridor in Downtown Washington, DC, the P Street Whole Foods helped transform the area into a vibrant neighborhood where residents not only shop, but live and work. A primary design goal was to integrate the store with the street, providing attractive pedestrian space that entices consumers to enter. A dramatic window, 160 feet long by 17 feet high, allows unobstructed views from the street to the grocery aisles, where a creative use of bulkheads draws customers further into the store. Due to the popularity of the store, MV+A has worked with Whole Foods to continually enhance the customer experience, most recently turning back of house space into café seating for customers to enjoy watching shoppers below.

Old Town Alexandria, VA | completed 2004

Residential design WFM | Old Town, Alexandria, VA
WFM | Old Town, Alexandria, VA
Interior WFM | Old Town, Alexandria, VA
Whole Foods Market - Old Town Alexandria/Duke Street. The prepared foods portion of the store, influenced by Old Town Alexandria's rich historic neighborhoods.

The Whole Foods Market in Old Town Alexandria was one of MV+A’s first stores designed as an anchor to an urban, multi-family apartment building.  With underground parking, and loading and service integrated into the urban site, this store began the expansion of the city to the west, beyond the core of the historic district, and spurred further residential and mixed-use development in this area.

Rodin Square, Philadelphia, PA | completed 2016

Rodin Square | Philadelphia, PA
WFM | Rodin Square, Philadelphia, PA

When you mix a 60,000 square foot flagship store with 300 luxury residential units, office space and additional retail on a complicated urban site you get this exciting MV+A designed mixed-use project in the heart of center city Philadelphia. The Whole Foods at Rodin Square celebrates its location in the city with a large storefront of glass with some of the best views of downtown Philly. The store’s design puts fresh, high quality products front and center with open kitchens and service departments allowing customers to not only enjoy the theater of how the food is prepared but inviting them to interact with team members throughout the store. Adding to the experience is food hall featuring local restaurants and vendors as well as large coffee bar and beer garden serving the community from early morning into the evening.

Wynnewood, PA | completed 2017

WFM | Wynnewood, PA
WFM | Wynnewood, PA

The transformative power of architecture is not limited to the urban context, it also happens in outer suburbs and developing communities. The Whole Foods in Wynnewood, PA helps blur the line between inside and out as well create a dynamic environment along a busy thoroughfare in this outer suburb of Philadelphia. The glass façade connects a street level Beer and Wine sales area and bar as well as dine-in food venue to the main sales floor above, which overlooks both the street level venues and allows natural light to flood the interior. Clever planning of this hillside site features parking below the main sales floor and a grand staircase within a two-story colonnade to connect various parts of the project. The store’s design reflects the rich context of Lower Marion Township by combining wood, locally sourced stone, reclaimed brick, and exposed steel.

Apollo, Washington, DC | completed 2017

WFM | H Street, DC
WFM | H Street, DC
WFM | H Street, DC
WFM | H Street, DC

Using our expertise in retail design in urban contexts, MV+A partnered with SK+I Architects on the Whole Foods anchored Apollo project. Situated on the H Street Corridor, this multifamily project helped return this busy commercial and entertainment district to it former glory. The store’s interior responds to the rich, diverse cultural history of one of the first residential neighborhoods in the nation’s capital. Bright colors throughout the store help animate the shopping experience while a dynamic exterior façade responds to the emerging visual and performing arts scene of the neighborhood while giving individual identities not only Whole Foods but for other smaller retails in this mixed-use project.

The Boro, Tysons, VA | completion 2019

WFM Boro Food Hall
WFM Boro Food Hall
WFM Boro Coffee
WFM Boro Coffee

This new flagship store is part of the ongoing redevelopment of Tysons, VA, located a few blocks from the ongoing MV+A development at Tysons West. Part of a multi-phased development known as The Boro, the store is metro accessible and sits below three residential towers. This Whole Foods store will feature a wide array of spaces to engage with the community, from an arcade and pub on the mezzanine to local vendor pop-up venues near the store entrance. Bright tiles and wood accents pop against the concrete structure of the building and highlight different spaces. Unique features, like the tandoori kitchen and self-serve beer and wine areas, will excite shoppers and make this store a destination for the neighborhood.

West Broad Street, Richmond, VA | completion 2020

WFM The Sauer Center Beer Wine
WFM The Sauer Center Beer Wine
WFM Broad St Prepare Food
WFM Broad St Prepare Food

One of our newest Whole Foods stores is in one of our oldest buildings! Whole Foods is moving into a renovation of the historic Kaufmann Building which is part of the Sauer Center in downtown Richmond, VA. The former home of Pleasants Hardware will hold the meat, seafood, and dairy departments along with back of house spaces, while clerestory windows spill natural light onto the sales floor in the addition. The store design celebrates the history of the building through exposed wood joist framing, original wood floors in the offices, and original brick throughout.

Meet our new intern!

Meet Harini Chandrasekhar, our summer intern! Harini started work at MV+A this June and will be with us through August. She has quickly become a core team member of project Liberty Place’s construction documentation and will play a role in our multi-family planning later this summer.
Originally from Kerala, India, Harini received her Bachelor of Architecture in Kerala and then went on to work for four years with multinational construction company Larsen and Toubro Construction. She is currently enrolled in Virginia Tech’s Master of Architecture program and expects to graduate in May 2020. Through her internship, Harini is excited to gain experience and see how her work in India’s construction industry differs from MV+A’s commercial and residential design and planning.

Harini Design Brief Profile
Harini Design Brief Profile

DESIGN BRIEF | May 2019

The Evolution of Retail Design

MV+A started retail design in the 1970’s and has been a part of the dramatic change in the retail environment during the past four decades. Retail has evolved into the core component of many of today’s mixed‑use developments, and MV+A remains an expert in the industry in solving the technical and placemaking challenges to deliver top quality retail. This month our design brief looks at several our retail projects completed in the last decade, along with projects currently under construction and on the boards.

Brandywine Crossing, Brandywine, MD | completed 2008

Graphics Retail Design Brandywine Crossing | Brandywine, MD
Graphics Retail Design Brandywine Crossing | Brandywine, MD

Brandywine Crossing is a new retail development that provides a sense of identity to Brandywine, MD, along the US 301 corridor in southern Prince George’s County. A sixty‑plus acre development that includes six large‑format anchor retailers, the town center design of the in‑line retail creates a welcoming image for residents. Numerous public plazas, covered arcades, and careful masonry detailing create a real sense of place for the community. Prior to this development, there was a dearth of options for Brandywine residents to shop for groceries and enjoy an evening dining out. The addition of a Costco, Target, and Safeway, along with numerous smaller retail and restaurant venues, solved that problem.

Arlington Ridge Shopping Center, Arlington, VA | completed 2011

Arlington Ridge | Arlington, VA
Arlington Ridge | Arlington, VA

An early 1980’s strip shopping center tucked away on South Glebe Road, Arlington Ridge Shopping Center was underutilized and overlooked in its location away from the denser retail centers of Arlington, VA. A dramatic renovation using sustainable, reclaimed redwood and contemporary painted steel details brought this center back to life and created an inviting, pedestrian‑friendly environment. This redesign and rebranding of the shopping center led to new leases for a completely upgraded merchandising mix. Enhanced landscaping and the creation of outdoor seating areas with festive lighting and canopies completely turned this underutilized shopping center into a vibrant neighborhood gathering place.

Travilah Square, Rockville, MD | completed 2018

Trader Joe's | Travilah Square, Rockville, MD

MV+A worked with Finmarc Management, Inc. to renovate and expand the existing Travilah Square Shopping Center. Already a popular retail destination, the project transformed the three dated in‑line retail buildings with a complete facelift and new façade. The shopping center’s overall plan was enhanced by the replacement of a small office building and fast food establishment with a new retail building that faces the other existing retail buildings, bringing more visibility to them both. The new building includes a Trader Joe’s as the primary tenant.

Spring House Village, Lower Gwynedd Township, PA | completed 2018

Spring House Village | Lower Gwynedd Township, PA

MV+A undertook a total redesign and repositioning of Spring House Village Center in Lower Gwynedd Township, PA. The center, now anchored by a Whole Foods Market, consists of six new buildings carefully placed on the rolling hills of the eighteen‑acre site. The architecture reflects the agrarian vernacular of early buildings constructed by the area’s original Quaker settlers, with their influence seen through the generous use of fieldstone veneer, simple sloped roof forms, and minimal, crisp detailing. Long‑time tenants were accommodated during the redevelopment; the popular restaurant, Arpeggio’s BYOB, has been relocated into a purpose‑built building with an outdoor dining terrace overlooking Willow Run. Through this new development, Spring House Village has become an essential gathering place for residents of Lower Gwynedd Township.

Riverdale Park Station, Riverdale Park, MD | phase 2 completed 2018

Riverdale Park Station | Riverdale, MD
Riverdale Park Station | Riverdale, MD

MV+A designed the master plan of the thirty‑eight‑acre Riverdale Park Station in Prince George’s County, which includes 160,000 square feet of commercial space, including shops, restaurants, a Whole Foods Market, and a Gold’s Gym; 22,000 square feet of offices; and nearly 1,000 residential units. This past year saw the completion of the second phase of retail development, including all of the commercial buildings, which have been extremely successful in terms of leasing and drawing people to not only shop, but live and work in Riverdale Park. Construction continues with the third phase of Riverdale Park Station to increase the residential offerings in the development.

Tysons West Phase III, Vienna, VA | completion 2019

Tysons West | Tysons Corner
Tysons West | Tysons Corner

Building on the success of MV+A’s Walmart‑anchored Tysons West project, Tysons West’s phase III provides an interim surface‑parked retail solution with the introduction of new in‑line retail buildings. Conveniently located at the corner of Leesburg Pike and Westwood Center Drive opposite the new Metro station, the location, along with access to a grocery store and a stable office population, positions Tysons West III to be a popular and convenient fast casual dining option for this area. The project consists of four single story retail buildings that combine to add to 22,800 square feet of retail to Tysons West.

Kentlands Market Square, Gaithersburg, MD | completion 2019

Kentlands Market Square | Kentlands, MD
Kentlands Market Square | Kentlands, MD

Kentlands Market Square, a well‑established community shopping center in the city of Gaithersburg, is undergoing a major façade renovation that reimagines the existing center with updated materials and design. MV+A has worked with the client to create a more pedestrian friendly retail experience, with the help of a wide new Paseo, or outdoor path, cutting through one of the former big box store buildings. The Paseo is a lively outdoor corridor that draws pedestrians from the parking area to the center’s Main Street. Multiple opportunities for outdoor seating with retail facades facing the Paseo have attracted a more animated tenant mix that is sure to become a destination for the community.

ICSC RECon

MV+A is venturing west next week! Firm Associates Russell Zung, Neville Fernandes, and Brian Szymanski will be attending the International Council of Shopping Center’s (ICSC) RECon 2019 from May 19th‑22nd at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV. ICSC RECon is yearly global gathering of developers, owners, brokers, and retailers for retail real estate development.

ICSCRecon
ICSCRecon

DESIGN BRIEF | April 2019

The Evolution of Residential Design

MV+A has been involved in mixed-use residential design for the past two decades, with projects that have evolved with market changes and respond to the specific conditions of the site and program. This month our Design Brief presents a timeline of a few examples that are completed, under construction, and on the boards.

1700 Duke, Alexandria, VA | completed 2006

Residential design WFM | Old Town, Alexandria, VA
WFM | Old Town, Alexandria, VA

This 175,000-square-foot project serves as a gateway to new mixed-use developments west of Old Town Alexandria. As a Planned Unit Development (PUD), the project required a rigorous approval process by the Alexandria Board of Architectural Review. On the first floor is a 42,000‑square‑foot Whole Foods Market along with a 3,000-square-foot residential lobby. Above are three levels of 116 luxury condominiums with a fitness center and a 10,000-square-foot outdoor courtyard.

Northgate, Falls Church, VA | completed 2007

Northgate | Falls Church, VA
Northgate | Falls Church, VA

The design of this mixed-use project reinforces the strong urban architecture of the nearby Washington Street façades. The 300,000-square-foot project is an infill development that takes advantage of the allowable density and proximity to major commercial centers. The building mass was broken into varied volumes to compensate for the steep sloping site and to reduce the impact on adjoining properties.

77 H, Washington, DC | completed 2013

77 H Street | Washington, DC
77 H Street | Washington, DC

77 H is a true vertically integrated mixed-use building with two stories of retail and four stories of apartments located a few blocks from the United States Capitol, acting as a much-needed link between the two extant retail districts of H Street, NE and Gallery Place/Chinatown. By working with the site’s topography and solving the problem of a large retailer in an urban building, MV+A activated the streetscape along H Street and created 303 apartments on four levels above the urban-format Walmart on the second floor.

Atherton Mill, Charlotte, NC | completion 2019

Atherton Mill | Charlotte, NC
Atherton Mill | Charlotte, NC

MV+A has designed a mixed-use retail and residential project on an 8.4-acre site in Charlotte, North Carolina that relates to the historic Atherton Mill located just north of the site. While the façade facing the mill building borrows from the traditional architecture of the mill, the façade along South Boulevard utilizes a more contemporary interpretation with a weaving pattern of vertical red brick piers and horizontal dark brick bands. The new mixed-use residential and retail project at Atherton in Charlotte provides an opportunity to blend modern and traditional styles to create a lively mixed-use community.

Riverdale Park Building 5, Riverdale Park, MD completion 2020

Riverdale Park Station | Riverdale, MD
Riverdale Park Station | Riverdale, MD

MV+A has designed a mixed-use retail and residential project on an 8.4-acre site in Charlotte, North Carolina that relates to the historic Atherton Mill located just north of the site. While the façade facing the mill building borrows from the traditional architecture of the mill, the façade along South Boulevard utilizes a more contemporary interpretation with a weaving pattern of vertical red brick piers and horizontal dark brick bands. The new mixed-use residential and retail project at Atherton in Charlotte provides an opportunity to blend modern and traditional styles to create a lively mixed-use community.

Faraday Park West & East, Reston, VA completion 2020

Michael Faraday | Wiehle Reston Station, VA
Michael Faraday | Wiehle Reston Station, VA

Faraday Park is a redevelopment of a seven-acre site just east of the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station, on the Silver Line. The once low-density enclave of small office buildings is being transformed into a walkable community featuring a new grid of streets and a denser mix of uses, including two seven-story rental apartment buildings containing 408 units and ground floor retail, as well as twenty-six townhouses arranged around a network of public parks. The architecture establishes a grand commercial statement for the anticipated restaurants and shops, and then transitions to a quieter residential character for the garden façade which are articulated with small projecting bays facing the townhouses to create similar scaled elements between the seven-story apartments and the four-story townhomes.

Halley Rise Phase 1, Reston, VA completion 2021

Wegmans Block F Halley Rise | Reston, VA
Wegmans Block F Halley Rise | Reston, VA

Faraday Park is a redevelopment of a seven-acre site just east of the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station, on the Silver Line. The once low-density enclave of small office buildings is being transformed into a walkable community featuring a new grid of streets and a denser mix of uses, including two seven-story rental apartment buildings containing 408 units and ground floor retail, as well as twenty-six townhouses arranged around a network of public parks. The architecture establishes a grand commercial statement for the anticipated restaurants and shops, and then transitions to a quieter residential character for the garden façade which are articulated with small projecting bays facing the townhouses to create similar scaled elements between the seven-story apartments and the four-story townhomes.

ULI Real Estate Trends Conference

Come visit MV+A’s Brian Szymanski and Russell Zung on Tuesday, April 30th at the ULI Real Estate Trends conference held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center from 8AM to 6PM. This year’s conference focuses on Urban Innovation, and MV+A will be set up in the center of the exhibit hall at the foot of the grand staircase.

2016 Rodin Square | Philadelphia, PA
Rodin Square, Philadelphia, PA, Winner of the Urban Land institute Award for Excellence 2017