Design Brief | The Evolution of Whole Foods Markets
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.