Crossroads at Towson Row
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 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.
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.
Charlotte, North Carolina
Within Charlotte’s mix of 1920’s to modern architecture, the six buildings of the new Atherton Mill development cohesively embody the variety of architectural identities composing the city’s downtown. Filling in a much-needed retail core the city lacks, the master plan and building designs blend together structures with pedestrian pathways that establish a centralized and urban-feeling sense of community. In collaboration with Architect of Record, Axiom Architecture, MV+A was brought into the project for our expertise in retail, urban planning and contextual architectural design.
MV+A is working with developers Jair Lynch and MacFarlane Partners as the architect for the two – and three‑story retail base of a mixed‑use development located at Half and N Streets SE in Washington, DC. The project will house shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues across N Street from the main entrance to Nationals Park, home of the Washington Nationals. The 75,000 square feet of retail is designed to create a lively, pedestrian‑oriented destination that serves as a gateway to the ballpark and the Anacostia River beyond.
MV+A is involved in numerous projects as the Retail Architect, assisting with the design and planning of the retail environment from storefront design to signage guidelines.
Liberty Place occupies an entire city block in downtown Fredericksburg, just outside the boundary of the Historic District. The project divides the block into two lots, with a service alley separating a five‑story parking garage from a three‑story mixed‑use building containing restaurants, retail and office space. One of the largest projects in the downtown area, design decisions for Liberty Place correspond directly with Fredericksburg’s community needs, providing a 21st century building that sits comfortably alongside the city’s historic core. Restaurant and retail space on the ground floor opens to large covered seating areas along William Street, with the main entrance to two floors of office space situated on Winchester Street.
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.
Perched above Capitol Hill, the Penn Branch Shopping Center opened in 1964, serving the residents in Hillcrest, Penn Branch, Dupont Park and Randle Highlands with local and national retailers, community organizations and small businesses.
The redevelopment of The Shops at Penn Hill represents the transformation of a long-standing community retail center into a newly-designed, vibrant mix of retail, office and residential. Situated adjacent to the affluent Hillcrest and Penn-Branch neighborhood, this exciting new project is well-located and highly visible along the heavily-traveled Pennsylvania Avenue corridor. The Hillcrest and Penn-Branch submarkets offers high incomes and direct access to more than 122,000 D.C. residents.
Leveraging a location on a major vehicular commuting artery serving Washington, D.C. suburbs, Penn Hill will bring new retail to an area that is substantially under-served for grocery, lifestyle and service uses, with underground parking conveniently located on site.
Located amongst several well-established neighborhoods, Penn Hill residences will be developed to compliment this growing community. New residences will suit active lifestyles as well as those who want to relax and enjoy the freedom of apartment living.
The existing shopping center will be transformed into a contemporary place to work, shop and play. Penn Hill will provide shoppers and employees easy access from the surrounding neighborhoods and many other communities.
White Oak, MD
Twenty-two acres along Route 29 between the intersections of Industrial Parkway and Tech Road are primed for a transformation from a sleepy industrial site to ‘White Oak Town Center’ – a vibrant, mixed-use community. Phase 1, encompassing eight acres closest to Route 29, comprises of two buildings – a two-story retail structure along Industrial Parkway and a multifamily apartment building further north featuring ground floor retail including a national grocery chain. Together their programs provide the elemental ingredients necessary for fashioning an engaging, vibrant mixed-use community. The retail has been sized and planned to accommodate the diverse needs of today’s tenants. The residential provides an important captive market that not only benefits from the surrounding retail but provides feet on the ground 24/7. Together this will form the crux of a burgeoning community that seeks to live, work, and play at White Oak.
Kentlands Market Square, a well-established community shopping center in the city of Gaithersburg, has undergone 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, cut through one of the former big box store buildings. The Paseo is a lively outdoor corridor that draws pedestrians from the parking area through 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.