The North Bethesda suburb of Washington D.C. is currently witnessing a flurry of commercial and residential development, a result of the White Flint Sector Master Plan passed by the Montgomery County Council in March of 2010 which permitted an increase in density for the area. Among the developments are two mixed-use complexes called North Bethesda Markets, the first of which opened in 2010 to great success, with a second phase on the way. The firm Studios Architecture is leading the design of the upcoming North Bethesda Market II, which combines a 26-story, 300-foot-tall residential tower with an office building, a theater, restaurant, retail space, as well as a public plaza, on a 4.4-acre site.
Studios is working with Olin Partnership on the landscape design to create green roofs for each building and an internal plaza that will provide a sheltered space from Rockville Pike at the east. The plaza will incorporate tree-lined promenades and a basin-less fountain in the center.
Through greater density, Studios Architecture seeks to bring a city landscape to the suburbs: “We want to create a world class public-private space in the suburbs—to bring an urban feel, a sense of place, to the area,” said Brian Pilot, the managing director. Designed from the inside-out, the 400,000-square-foot highrise residence is sloped to allow for greater sunlight and to maximize space. The proposed south-facing stepped facade with balconies looks inward to the plaza, providing residents with views of the pedestrian activity below.
The Market will be located just under a half-mile from the White Flint Metro Station and will also include a bike sharing program, providing the benefit of transit proximity and various public transportation options that although common in cities are rarely found in suburbs. “It’s about the pedestrian, not the vehicle,” Pilot emphasized, “It’s a big change for the neighborhood.”