Local > AIA Potomac Valley > Multi-Family Architecture (AIA Potomac Valley)
- People's Choice
PROJECT Flats 8300
LOCATION Bethesda, Maryland, United States
PROJECT COMPLETION DATE 3/31/2016
ARCHITECT WDG Architecture
CONTRACTOR / CONSTRUCTION MANAGER Donohoe Construction Company
PHOTOGRAPHER Max Kun Zhang
ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN TEAM Eric Liebmann, C. R. George Dove, Steven Schwartzman, Utsav Chakrabarti, Boyd Chapman, Anne Mitchell, & Shabbir Kazmi
SUMMARY DESCRIPTION OF PROJECT
The massing and configuration of the 8300 Wisconsin Avenue development is predicated by its unique site at the northern gateway into Bethesda. The building takes on a U-shape, open to the north, establishing a powerful north – south axis and a creating a significant public open space. From the north, the NIH parkland becomes a visual forecourt and greatly expands the project’s prominence.
The site’s topography is a critical determinant in the positioning of programmatic elements. The site slopes diagonally down from its highest point at the intersection of Battery and Wisconsin, to its lowest point in its northwest corner. The grade change allows the inclusion of a 50,000 square foot grocery store, which although technically at cellar level, can nonetheless be accessed at grade at the Battery and Woodmont corner, and provide continuous storefront along its western exposure.
The highest point of the site at the southeast corner, at a full level above the grocery store, becomes the logical location for the residential lobby. Loading and below grade parking are accessed from the site’s lowest point at the northwest corner. A second parking access is provided adjacent to the store entry along Battery Lane.
A crucial prerequisite to entitlement was not only that the internal plaza be public in nature, but through its design, program, and configuration, clearly promote public passage. The prime pedestrian entrance into the plaza is located adjacent to the intersection of the Wisconsin and Battery, and fundamentally impacts the building form.
The building is carved away at its most significant corner, creating a new pedestrian plaza at the intersection of Wisconsin and Battery Lane. The residential lobby projects sculpturally into the space and its curving form funnels pedestrians up a gently ramping walkway into the plaza through a broad, two level opening.
The apartment block is single loaded above; a broad section of internal corridor is exposed through a dramatic window wall façade, connecting the residential life of the building with plaza below. An array of designs by artist Kent Bloomer, including applied metalwork, decorative concrete block, and pole lights, seamlessly support both architecture and landscape.
The plaza serves as an “Art Park”. Rectilinear pools and granite pads are interspersed throughout the plaza to provide platforms for both permanent and temporary sculpture installations. Units facing directly on the courtyard, have sunken outdoor terraces, providing an acceptable degree of privacy. The plaza terraces down some twenty feet to merge with parkland to the North.
Building skins feature a rich palette of materials, including modular and oversized masonry units in several colors, metal in varied forms and patterns, and glass. Each façade has been composed to provide visual interest through multiple planes and details, to create an inviting residential presence, and mitigate the overall size and scale of development.
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IMAGE CAPTIONS & CREDITS
IMAGE 1 Flats 8300_thumbnail ext, Exterior, IRIS22 Productions LLC
IMAGE 2 Flats 8300_high res int., Exterior and Courtyard, IRIS22 Productions LLC
IMAGE 3 Flats 8300_high res int., Lobby, IRIS22 Productions LLC
IMAGE 4 Flats 8300 Image 2, View from Battery Lane, IRIS 22 Productions LLC
IMAGE 5 Flats 8300 Image 3, Passage into Courtyard, IRIS22 Productions LLC
IMAGE 6 Flats 8300 Image 4, Entry, IRIS22 Productions LLC
IMAGE 7 Flats 8300 Image 5, Dusk View from Wisconsin Avenue, IRIS22 Productions LLC
IMAGE 8 Exterior Image 1, Exterior, IRIS22 Productions LLC