Bridging the Connections Between Infrastructure and Mixed-Use: The Wilson, Bethesda

Session: Track A: Best Tall Building Award: Under 100m Part 1, 400m+ Part 1 & Non-building, Part 1

Alison WertzlerRobert SponsellerProject image

Alison Wertzler
Vice President of Design and Construction, Carr Properties
Washington D.C.

Robert Sponseller
Design Principal, Shalom Baranes Associates
Washington D.C.

The Wilson capitalizes on a site with multi-modal transportation opportunities and creates a mixed-use destination that improves the way people navigate the area. The site is positioned above an existing subway and regional walking/bicycle trail, as well as future light rail. The development was required to provide a new station for light rail in the project’s lower levels, along with a new subway station entrance, and an additional tunnel for the trail. The Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan designated the site as a landmark building and afforded it the area’s tallest heights, reflecting its position as a gateway into the city from nearby Washington, D.C.

Residential, office, and retail spaces are delivered in three towers grounded by a public open space. The program is arranged across the triangular site in three volumes. Built out at the base, setbacks address the street, where a set of tapering towers sympathetic to the surroundings rise. The design of the office tower massing has shifting rectangular components providing a signature identity, adding corner offices and outdoor terraces on multiple floors.

The residential component, combined at the base, becomes two slim towers with a variety of layering façades that allow for numerous recessed terraces and balconies. A dramatic skybridge on Level 28 links the residential towers and offers a major amenity space with incredible views.

The transit infrastructure limited the amount of below-grade parking that could be implemented, presenting an opportunity to build resiliency into the project by designing above-grade parking to be converted to future office space. In support of this, the curtain wall at the garage levels is similar to the skin above, keeping the top and bottom of the building cohesive.. Overall, the project offers more than 25,000 square feet (2,323 square meters) of green space.. The office building has achieved LEED Gold certification and is targeting two-star Fitwell status andthe residential component is targeting LEED Gold certification.

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