Novel Bethesda

Crescent Communities

Location Bethesda, Maryland

The vision for 7820 Wisconsin embraces ecology, equity, and economy to promote nature-centric urban living.

The design embraces biophilic principles of wellness and natural connections, inspired by a series of cascading waterfalls descending a series of ledges that culminate in a new urban retail space for Downtown Bethesda.  Per the Bethesda’s Downtown Sector Plan to create an active recreation and commercial hub between Bethesda’s Metro and BRT stations, the design embraces a new landscaped retail plaza along Norfolk, by carving massing back from the south property line to reveal a series of active program and communal terraces at the building’s first 5 levels.  Continuous retail and public art activate the plaza, while expressive landscaping ascends the building’s first 5 levels including an active fitness terrace and sunrise/sunset clubhouse terraces overlooking the Norfolk/Wisconsin corner. The terraced landscape design expresses the holistic approach to stormwater management with rainwater collection descending from level 31 rooftop planters to level 23’s pool deck, through level 7, 4, and 2 bioretention planters.  The overall building’s massing cascades purposefully from North to South to maximize resident’s access to views and daylight. While a strong base, tower, and top massing is achieved through significant setbacks, the overall building aesthetic is comprised of clean simple volumes and skin, articulated with subtle plane changes that manipulate the massing into thoughtful elegant proportions.  Level 23’s large setback features a seamless connection from aqua lounge to pool terrace to four seasons sky deck, shaping a lushly planted terrace for residents at the upper levels of the building.

Taking a holistic approach to façade materials, the base, tower, and top are comprised primarily of glazing and metal wall panel, with mullion fins that respond directly to solar orientation to mitigate heat gain.  The 30 story masses facing East and West have vertical fins that simultaneously provide solar shading from the harsh morning and afternoon sun, while enhancing the slender ends of the tallest masses, drawings one’s eye to the sky.  These vertical fins continue above their glazing massing at levels 4, 23 and the rooftop to provide a signature architecture of trellises at the intermediate terraces, and a unique profile where the building meets the sky.  Contrasting these cascading vertical lines, continuous horizonal balconies act as ledges providing solar shading, fostering true indoor/outdoor living unique to Bethesda.

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