Liberty East, In the Works
East Liberty, five miles east of downtown Pittsburgh, was Pennsylvania’s third‑largest shopping district in the 1940s and 1950s, popularly referred to as the “Second Downtown.” Emerging from the decline of the 1970s, it is quickly establishing its position as the center of technology, culture, and lifestyle in Pittsburgh. MV+A is fortunate to play a part in this emergence by planning and designing approximately 10 acres in a multiphase approach. The masterplan features a variety of uses including grocery stores, high‑end consumer retail, office and multifamily apartments, all planned to recreate a true mixed‑use neighborhood reminiscent of the rich urban tapestry historically prevalent in East Liberty.
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.
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.
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.
MV+A is designing the master plan for a 36‑acre parcel adjacent to the Reston Town Center Metro station. In July of this year the plan received unanimous approval from the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. The Board approved the Conceptual Development Plan for all 36 acres and Final Development Plan for Block F, the first phase of a grocery anchored project with over 350 stick‑built apartments above. The overall program includes 1.9 million square feet of office, 1,630 residential units, a 200‑key hotel, and 300,000 square feet of retail and entertainment including an 80,000‑square‑foot grocery. Using color, texture, and form to delineate different functions, the design team developed a simplified language for the building that will integrate with the overall progressive nature of the architecture planned for the development.
MV+A is excited to be designing Faraday Park, the redevelopment of a seven-acre site just east of the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station, on the Silver Line in Reston, Virginia. It will be part of a larger redevelopment effort for the area. The once low-density enclave of small office buildings is being transformed into a walkable community featuring a new grid of streets, a denser mix of uses, and diverse open spaces. By helping establish the street grid, MV+A has created the framework to support designs for Rooney Properties, which include 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.
Faraday West, the building closest to Metro, contains 242 apartments and has 10,000 square feet of retail at the corner of Reston Station Boulevard and Michael Faraday Drive. Taking advantage of proximity to Metro, the architecture establishes a grand commercial statement for the anticipated restaurants and shops, and then transitions to a quieter residential character along the east and west facades.
Faraday East transforms a surface parking lot into 166 modern apartments, using similar massing and materials as the west building. The architecture of the east building is distinct from Faraday West but maintains a compatible dialog with its neighbor to the west.
Both buildings are flanked by a series of townhouses, separated by linear garden spaces that end in a public park with many individual and team activities available. The garden facades of both Faraday West and Faraday East are articulated with small projecting bays facing the townhouses to create similar scaled elements between the 7-story apartments and the 4-story townhouses. Balconies and terraces also bring activity and human scale to the gardens, contributing to the feel of a welcoming and pedestrian-oriented living space.
RIVERDALE PARK, MARYLAND
Construction continues at Riverdale Park Station in Prince George’s County. MV+A designed the master plan of the 38-acre Riverdale Park Station, which includes 160,000 square feet of commercial space, including shops, restaurants, Whole Foods Market, and Gold’s Gym; 22,000 square feet of offices; and nearly 1,000 residential units.
Falls Church, VA
Broad and Washington represents a dynamic mixed‑use development anchoring the budding Falls Church Arts and Entertainment district at a key intersection within the city. The MV+A design, which includes street retail, office, and multifamily residential components, has been well‑received by city fathers for its inclusion of a retail arcade, control of scale and stepping façades to reduce mass to relate to the adjoining sites.
Creative planning and architecture for the 2.7‑acre site has resulted in a true mixed‑use project unlike any other development in the city, with unfettered street frontage for ground‑floor restaurants and shops along North Washington and East Broad Streets. The largest Class A Office space proposed in Falls Church, the high‑end residential with its grand amenity program, and varied entertainment components will provide the critical mass needed for lively, year‑round activity. The office use provides daytime activity, and the residential and entertainment components do the same at nights and weekends. Dining arcades, judiciously carved courtyards, and vital massing allow this project fit within its challenging and important context.
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 through to Dorr Avenue.
This is MV+A’s first project with Elm Street Development, but we are currently working on additional projects with the developer 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.
Virginia Village presents an opportunity for an exciting new mixed use project in close proximity to the already vibrant downtown of Leesburg, Virginia. Downtown Leesburg features an appealing human scaled retail experience with a rich historic character. As one moves away from downtown, opportunities for a vibrant mixed use experience are limited.
Virginia Village will continue the exciting mixed use experience found downtown in a place that includes more opportunities for flexible open space, is more accessible and user friendly, and more viable for current and future trends in retail, residential, and office uses. This place can still have a rich architectural character like that found downtown while providing amenities that are missing.