Best Design of The Year: Montgomery County’s Tallest Residences

by UrbanTurf Staff

Best Design of The Year: Montgomery County's Tallest Residences: Figure 1
Rendering for North Bethesda Market II.

UrbanTurf usually stays away from publishing rankings or lists…except at the end of the year when we look back at the best that DC’s real estate scene had to offer during the previous 12 months. So, this whole week, we will be looking at not only the best, but the most intriguing and peculiar things that came across our radar over the course of 2013.

The DC area is many things, but it is not a place known for adventurous architecture. A new project out of Bethesda will begin to change that perception.

At the beginning of the year, STUDIOS Architecture and ArchiBIM released revamped renderings of the second phase of JBG’s North Bethesda Market (dubbed North Bethesda Market II). The project will consist of 347 residential units in a high-rise structure and a larger complex with 120,000 square feet of retail and 150,000 square feet of office space along Rockville Pike, between Nicholson Lane and Executive Boulevard (map). At about 300 feet tall, the residential building will be the tallest in Montgomery County.

Best Design of The Year: Montgomery County's Tallest Residences: Figure 2

But it is not the scale of the project that excites, but rather the striking design.

The facade is comprised largely of glass, and a couple smooth sides are juxtaposed with blockier aspects which have boxes jutting out at random intervals. One of the cooler features is a cascading pattern of residential terraces that form a horseshoe formation over the rest of the building.

Best Design of The Year: Montgomery County's Tallest Residences: Figure 3

Work has yet to start on North Bethesda Market II, so unfortunately it will be awhile until fans of forward-thinking architecture in the region will get a glimpse of this project.

See other articles related to: bethesda, best of 2013

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/most_exciting_renderings_of_the_year_montgomery_countys_tallest_residences/7934


  1. Doug said at 8:27 pm on Monday December 16, 2013:
    Love it. I want to see more design like this in DC proper as well. The Atlantic Plumbing project is a good start in that direction.
  1. Tom in Michigan Park said at 9:27 pm on Monday December 16, 2013:
    Allow me to echo Doug's sentiments. Love it, too! I know Studios Architecture; the firm does incredible work. Alas, DC is SO freaking constipated when it comes to cutting-edge architecture.
  1. Wendy in Bethesda said at 9:57 pm on Monday December 16, 2013:
    you've GOT to be kidding. Look at the huge shadows that these high-rises cast on the sidewalks--even in the rendering, most of the people shown are wandering in the shadows. Empty, concrete plazas--no gathering spaces for people. And a huge glass paperweight of a building--that's innovative? I think it's more of the same for Bethesda, which is turning into Rosslyn. Any green space? Of course not. A poor choice, unless you mistakenly pulled from your "Worst of 2013."
  1. Jay said at 10:13 pm on Monday December 16, 2013:
    What a joke. It'll be an eyesore in 20 years. In 30-40 years, people will be ready to tear it down and build anew. Classic architecture stands the test of time. Look at all of the old, wonderful buildings in the District still around and still look good.
  1. huh? said at 11:13 pm on Monday December 16, 2013:
    the shadows in the 1st pic are from the low rise, NOT the high rise. And they are not in a large plaza, but in a corridor type space between lower buildings - and behind them there is a plaza, well defined and apparently programmed as a gathering place. I can't think of any buildings in Rosslyn that have spaces like that. As for the glass, well we all have different tastes, but I have been in Rosslyn a fair amount, and IMO its problem is not glass, its the auto oriented layout, the excessively wide streets, etc.
  1. brad said at 11:21 pm on Monday December 16, 2013:
    the design is fascinating, and innovative. and most new architecture in the DC area? stodgy. have to agree with wendy and jay here. not seeing the green space, looks like rosslyn, and will be tear-down ready in 30-40 years.....
  1. jag said at 11:22 pm on Monday December 16, 2013:
    What's with the haters? If you want to live in a regular DC box then feel free. The point is this is (by far) the most interesting rendering to come about this year (most interesting building actually under construction is downtown Silver Spring's library, IMO). Personally, I like it. If you don't, who cares? Don't live there.
  1. Lowet said at 12:59 am on Tuesday December 17, 2013:
    It is AWESOME! I am in the Doug, Tom and jag camp. Architecture needs to be spicier in this area.
  1. cpterp said at 3:16 pm on Tuesday December 17, 2013:
    People here sure love to whine that the urban architecture is boring, and when an iconic building comes along they deride it. Studios is one of the top architectural firms in the nation. The only problem with this building is that it isn't under construction yet (technically this design was unveiled at the end of 2012). Huge shadows? Green space? It's a 300ft tall building and it's design will actually create less shadows than a "conventional" building. Plus there's a huge plaza with trees both in this development and the one across the street (North Bethesda Market I). Maybe Wendy needs to move to West Virginia.
  1. Bccer said at 3:49 pm on Tuesday December 17, 2013:
    Even the most creative people and organizations fail sometimes. This building is really ugly. The slope may allow more light and air but I hope the designers have considered how sunlight will reflect off the facade - will it blind those below? Set vehicles on fire like London's Walkie Talkie Building?
  1. Gull said at 4:11 pm on Tuesday December 17, 2013:
    Everyone complaining about the lack of green or public space is not realizing that this is one building of three, that are all part of the same project within a square block. There is a large gathering space that will be very well programmed and landscaped that is between this building and the proposed office and retail building, and it will connect to the adjacent project that has a central plaza as well. More time was spent at the Board hearing talking about these open spaces than the buildings themselves. This is also not in Bethesda Proper, it's part of the White Flint planning area, since I also get the impression people aren't sure where this even is.
  1. asffa said at 7:11 pm on Tuesday December 17, 2013:
    Glad someone else noticed this Brutalism-inspired building design is UGLY
  1. Elizabeth said at 8:30 pm on Wednesday December 18, 2013:
    Do people really want to live in glass houses--literally? No privacy unless your curtains are drawn, not easy to hang pictures. I'm sure this monstronsity will win many architecture awards, but I'm not sure anyone other than architects would want to live there. And how big are the apartments? Could, say, a family with 2 kids and a dog live there comfortably? Of course not. I do wish that someone would build for families in Bethesda.
  1. haha said at 9:45 pm on Wednesday December 18, 2013:
    haha, well Elizabeth wins "Most Inane Comment of the Year". That gosh darn window is so hard to hang a picture on, don't ya know!

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