Surrounded by lively residential neighborhoods, downtown Annapolis is a vibrant mix of both nationally known retail chains and locally owned shops. As part of a major utility relocation, Mahan Rykiel Associates created a Master Plan to improve Main Street and breathe new life into this historic retail district. Widened sidewalks and narrowed traffic lanes create a friendly pedestrian environment without compromising traffic flow or parking capacity.
In keeping with the historic flavor of the community, streetscape elements included brick sidewalks and streets, granite curbs and crosswalks, historic light fixtures, cast iron benches, and other street furnishings. Brick patterning on the ground plane differentiates pedestrian and vehicular flow and identifies historic zones. Located to frame significant views, street trees bring welcome shade and greenery to this dense urban area. The Master Planning effort included a substantial community involvement process to incorporate the concerns of a wide variety of constituents.
Center Plaza, part of Baltimore’s Charles Center, was a keystone of Baltimore’s downtown revitalization efforts in the 1960’s. One of Baltimore’s original “green roofs,” by the 1990’s the plaza had deteriorated into an unattractive, unused space that adversely affected the surrounding buildings. City leaders recognized the three-acre site served as a vital link between City Center, the West Side, and the Charles Street Corridor as more than 8,100 office workers, 2,000 residents, and 1,500 hotel rooms could be found within a one-block radius.
Mahan Rykiel Associates provided direction and built team consensus on various site and programming issues, and worked closely with the city to ensure that the plaza would be sustainable and maintainable. Mahan Rykiel Associates was at the forefront of all stakeholder meetings to discuss approach, materials, maintenance concerns, and design options. The goal was to create a successful destination space that would recapture the vitality and energy of the original vision for Charles Center, but would also introduce new elements to accommodate the changing downtown experience.
The $7.5 million plaza renovation has become the catalyst for other development and capital improvements in the area. The space is a desirable venue for numerous events such as employee appreciation days and lunchtime concerts.
Inspired by his life and legacy, the family of Pierce Flanagan III sponsored the creation of a downtown park that bears his name. Selected by the family to design this park, Mahan Rykiel has created a unique open space that will engage children and families as part of the Inner Harbor landscape. The site is loosely designed as two open spaces connected by a “Ribbon Walk”. One area attracts older children to an unstructured play area which includes landscaped berms, an open green, and custom sculpture. The other area is designed for younger children and contains a living ‘willow tunnel’, two sculptures and a fence that produces musical sounds when tapped. Homophonic words are inscribed along the serpentine walk for children to discover.
Honor Award, MD/Potomac ASLA
Best in Class Award for Landscape and Paving, Brick in Architecture
This hotel, condominium and tower are located on Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. The development spans 420,000 square feet. The fourth floor features an infinity pool and outdoor fireplace. The fifth floor splash pool area features a hot tub, fireplace and sundeck with panoramic views of Baltimore’s skyline. MRA also designed the promenade surrounding the hotel, the streetscape area, entry drive and porte cochѐre. Condé Nast named this hotel to its “hot hotel” list for 2012, crediting the outdoor spaces designed by MRA as a key reason for the ranking.
Mahan Rykiel led the design team for the renovation of the Academic Quad, a significant landscape which includes the most historic and iconic buildings on campus, mature canopy trees and a broad sweeping lawn. A major infrastructure repair project provided the impetus for the renovation which displaced existing walkways and introduced temporary ones. The MRA plan establishes a new and accessible pedestrian circulation system, preserves existing trees, maintains the spacious expanse of lawn, creates small seating/gathering plazas, and strengthens the allee with new trees. Selected materials are consistent with the campus standards and reflect both the historic and contemporary architectural character.
Located within 100’ of a protected waterway, the plan includes grass swales for on-site quality treatment of stormwater. This landscape renewal maintains the flexibility of this important landscape and reinforces its position as a vital component of the campus community.
Mahan Rykiel Associates and a team of consultants are providing strategic planning services for the continued revitalization of the City of Lancaster through a community-owned action plan. The previous economic development strategy, produced in 1998, sought to stimulate development and business interest; this strategic plan will both continue and expand upon the revitalization of the City—leveraging the robust and locally-based economy, and sustaining the upward, positive trend.
MRA team is assessing current trends, opportunities and community needs—focused on the downtown and neightborhood centers—to formulate detailed goals and tactics for the branded 10-year economic strategy titled Building on Strength. Becoming intimately familiar with the community, the project team frequently conducts one-on-one interviews with key stakeholders and facilitates group discussions through focus groups and public meetings utilizing digital and analog surveying tools.
Excellence Award, American Planning Association Pennsylvania Chapter
Skyline Plaza is a global shopping center with more than 400,000 square feet of retail space in the heart of Frankfurt’s Europa district. The 2.7 acre Skyline Garden extends and activates the architecture by creating a fifth façade with active and passive recreational opportunities. The landscape surface also serves to energize and augment the urban ecology of Frankfurt by creating a richly vegetative microclimate with native and adapted species, as well as, an advanced hydrological system that captures storm water; supplying 100% of the site’s irrigation needs. These features, along with the project’s programmatic intensity establish an environment that enhances both the quality of life for humans and non-humans in Frankfurt’s urban ecosystem. The landscape architecture team worked collaboratively with the building architects to realize the project vision.
The formal language of the intensive green roof at Skyline is both a reference to the rich garden tradition of the European Renaissance, as well as, a visual counterpoint to the undulating geometry of the building. The long lines and linear axes of the space serve to connect garden rooms and provide an armature around which to organize circulation. Three, main axes define the site’s orientation; two that are north-south oriented and one that is east-west oriented.
Programmatically, the northern half of the garden is the heart of Skyline Garden. Here, the interplay between major and minor paths diverge and stretch across the space, creating a dynamic rhythm that unfolds as a series of activity rooms and garden follies including multiple play spaces for adults and children. Contemporary furnishings around the periphery of these spaces including seating and lighting afford users moments of passive contemplation and leisure with views out to the city that complement and enhance the garden’s recreational character.
Union Wharf is a mixed-use waterfront community that brings 281 upscale apartment homes, 4,500 square feet of retail, and parking to Baltimore’s historic Fells Point neighborhood. The development’s rich material palette creates an eclectic, industrial aesthetic which complements the architecture of the surrounding community.
Mahan Rykiel’s role included concept development through Construction services for the site. The scope consisted of four amenity courtyard spaces as well as streetscape and waterfront promenade design. The pool courtyard, most closely associated to the project’s leasing, incorporates a strong, industrial, yet contemporary design aesthetic. The space consists of a tapered, three-sided, 120 ft long pool, corten clad feature wall, along with a series of well considered, custom designed site elements. The three additional courtyards command waterfront views, providing an attractive, contemplative setting for residents. Each courtyard addresses a different programmatic requirement, but collectively maintain a strong and cohesive design aesthetic.
The project is LEED Gold.
Wavemaker Award, Urban Land Institute
Wintergreen Award, USGBC MD
Best Rental Apartment, National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)
A world-renowned facility for children with severe brain disorders, Kennedy Krieger’s facility includes a 1/2 acre garden. Working closely with the Architects and KKI clinical therapists, Mahan Rykiel Associates developed an extensive outdoor garden geared to the needs of this highly specialized population. Designed to complement the work of the therapy staff, the garden consists of a series of outdoor rooms which provide a venue for physical and cognitive therapy. MRA integrated a variety of spatial scales, paving patterns, textures, and elevation changes, linked them with a series of water elements, to bring an entirely new experience to KKI’s successful therapy programs. MRA was able to combine an expertise designing hospital/healing gardens and gardens/playspaces for children with the medical needs articulated by KKI administration and staff, to create this unique environment – therapeutic for body, mind, and spirit.
T Rowe Price is headquartered on 30 acres in Baltimore County, MD. This project represents Phase III of a four-phase build out. Mahan Rykiel Associates identified several clear goals for the project: provide a seamless landscape between existing and new; incorporate sustainable ideas wherever possible; and create places for people. The site contains a natural stream system, both above and below ground, which became an essential component of the aesthetic and functional aspects of the design – establishing a design character, reinforcing the natural runoff of the site and creating new channels for water quality improvement.
The plan is organized along a gently curving path that suggests this streambed alignment. A series of terraces step down the slope along the dry stream, and ‘push’ the walls in and out in a dynamic pattern, eventually ending in a real stream and pond at the lower dining terrace. At this lower terrace, a waterfall spills into a shallow pool, flowing finally into a naturalistic stream and pond. Throughout the project, attention to detail can be seen in paving patterns, placement of boulders, textures of plants, and the seasonal change that is evident all year long.
MRA won a competition for the redesign of Baltimore’s War Memorial Plaza. Located adjacent to City Hall, War Memorial Plaza is one of the most significant civic open spaces in Baltimore. Built in 1927 to honor the 1,769 Marylanders who died in World War I, the plaza has served as a venue for political functions, concerts, and as a popular spot for relaxation. In recent decades, the plaza declined significantly, and renewal of the space became an important priority for the City.
The new plan maintains the integrity of the original layout, but restructures physical and visual access to the space by raising the lower level and providing access at the corners. Paved areas are reduced through the introduction of a large lawn panel surrounded by pervious crushed stone and a redesigned feature fountain. Edge conditions can now support public/private partnerships to provide vendor carts, permanent food kiosks and programmed events. An important component of the design is the incorporation of CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) principles that increase the visibility of the space and the ability to defend it. The redesigned plaza now provides an attractive outdoor lunch venue downtown.
The McKeldin Mall Landscape Renewal represents a tremendous opportunity to reimagine this iconic public space with a fresh focus on aesthetics, function, and stewardship to address the needs and values of this flagship campus.
The 44 acre site will be conceptually developed with a focus on redesign and documentation of the main lawn area and 19 acre interstitial spaces. The design team is a collaboration of Mahan Rykiel as the Architect of Record and Michael Vergason Landscape Architects as the lead designer. Mahan Rykiel is leading a multidisciplinary team of engineers, water and soil specialists, lighting designers/engineers, arborists, code consultants and cost estimators.
When complete, the design will:
• improve connections through a simplified walkway system extending the Mall and improving access, portals and gateways
• increase biodiversity of plant material
• address tree vitality of the historic allee
• upgrade the quality of materials and details that reflect a major institution
• enhance sustainability by managing stormwater
• ensure vitality of the physical, symbolic and social centerpiece of the College Park Campus and University system.
For more than 140 years, the Mutual Chemical Company, and later Allied Chemical, operated a chrome processing and manufacturing facility on Baltimore’s harbor, often referred to as the Baltimore Works. Operations suddenly ceased in 1985 leaving a site contaminated with dangerously high levels of chromium deposits. The surrounding waterfront had been severely damaged as vital habitat and ecosystems were destroyed.
In 1999, a $110 million cleanup of the Baltimore Works site was completed under the supervision of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The site was purchased for redevelopment and renamed Harbor Point. In 2003, the site was chosen by the EPA as a model for the Agency’s Land Revitalization Program, which incorporates beneficial land reuse into their cleanup programs.
Mahan Rykiel Associates recognized this 27- acre parcel not only as a national benchmark for beneficial reuse, but also as a catalyst to promoting habitat restoration in the Chesapeake Bay. In developing concepts for Harbor Point, Mahan Rykiel detailed how the ecological and industrial history of the site can work together to benefit both the environment and the economy. Plans include forward thinking that would engage and educate the public in the diverse ecosystems of the Chesapeake Bay area, and several modern techniques for shoreline restoration and habitat preservation.
Mahan Rykiel prepared the landscape plan for the First Baptist Church which connects a new 3000-seat Worship Center with an historic 1890 Sanctuary and provides a welcoming new “oasis” in the heart of Dallas. The project occupies two city blocks and serves as a gateway for those entering the city.
The goal of the modern architectural design of the building and plaza is intended to reflect the beauty and majesty of God and the revitalization of the downtown area. The overall project includes three-quarters of an acre of greenspace, a new five-story family center, a new parking garage, a glass bridge, and dramatic water feature.
The carefully orchestrated arrangement of paving, planting and bermed walls accentuate the new architecture while respecting the character of the early 20th century parish which shares the site. Against the backdrop of the historic sanctuary, the design of a small courtyard provides a more restrained contrast to the theatrical plaza beyond. Seating areas and shade trees in this area offer a contemplative place for individual or small scale activities and an accessible route to the existing building.
Patterson Park is an iconic American landscape in an independent American city. It is hallowed ground where citizen soldiers stood to defend Baltimore from the British in the war of 1812. It is a seed of civic generosity; a ‘public walk’ gifted to the people of Baltimore in 1827. It is a cultural institution that has and continues to provide active and passive recreational opportunities dating back to the 19th century. It is an urban oasis and an ecological engine that must continue to serve the city now and in to the future.
The Patterson Park Master Plan, being led by Mahan Rykiel Associates is the product of two years of collaborative effort by the Patterson Park Working Group, Steering Committee, and Baltimore City Recreation & Parks. The vision and framework developed during this process is leading to a master plan for the park that honors its past while incorporating evolving contemporary uses.
Forest City-New East Baltimore Partnership and other constituents are constructing a new mixed-use community adjacent to the campus of Johns Hopkins University. When fully developed, the 88-acre site is intended to provide the economic engine for the renewal of the city’s eastside. Lifescience research, housing, retail, school, hotel, and a public open green are envisioned. Mahan Rykiel Associates is leading the team designing the new six-acre central park.
The park will be the centerpiece of the community’s wellness brand, a place where residents, hospital/research workers, and visitors can go to socialize, relax, buy fresh produce, exercise, play, and be entertained in a beautiful green environment. The park will be a welcoming and safe environment for persons of all ages. The live-work-play environment of this revitalized neighborhood promotes healthy and sustainable living through design, amenities, retail mix, and rich programming. The park will host outdoor activities as well as community events, including concerts, graduations, farmer’s markets, and sporting events.
As the only such treatment center in northeastern Maryland, this facility is an important addition to the area’s healthcare community. The design team focused on a number of guiding principles and goals for the Cancer Center. Attention to the patient experience is at the core of these principles – emphasizing a strong physical identity, creation of a healing environment, and stress reduction. Goals included: creating a multifunctional and flexible design, a separate identity for the infusion garden, vehicular access with a clear connection to the existing hospital, and a prominent entrance.
Located entirely over structure, the two-level courtyard gardens provide views for the rooms inside, varied seating areas, and habitat for birds and butterflies. Plantings highlight colors, textures, and patterns for four seasons of interest. Fountains provide a soothing and contemplative feel, and a labyrinth offers visitors, staff and patients a place for reflection. The open lawn can be used for special events and a variety of fitness classes.
Completion of the Cancer Center concludes a $39 million expansion of Upper Chesapeake Health.
Mahan Rykiel Associates developed master plan concepts for this 31-acre mixed-use development in Fairfax County. Partly infill, the project includes retail, residential, office, hospitality, and neighborhood park components. A pilot project for the LEED Neighborhood Development rating system, it has already received a Silver certification. Design concepts involved establishing pedestrian and vehicular connections, parking layouts, creating 20,000 SF of green roofs, planting design, and paving. The project incorporates a number of sustainable features including electric car charging stations, advanced stormwater management systems and connections to existing public transportation.
The development will create a new center for the community in the heart of Fairfax County.
Outstanding Neighborhood or Small Area Plan, Capital Region American Planning Association
Community Appearance Alliance of Northern Virginia Award 2013”
Pentagon Row is a successful mixed-use community on Joyce Street in Arlington. It is a vibrant center with a wide variety of tenants serving a large population of nearby apartments, condominiums and hotel guests. The central plaza is surrounded by shops and restaurants with outdoor seating, and is a major activity space featuring programmed events and a popular ice rink—proven to be a significant draw, distinguishing this community from other retail competition in the area. Mahan Rykiel was charged with rejuvenating the plaza and increasing the size of the ice rink by half—while still allowing plenty of pedestrian circulation, and creating appealing outdoor space and increasing planting areas within the reduced area. The design team incorporated new fountains, which are sculptural elements— animated with sequenced lights and jets—and fireplace with adjacent lounge seating that encourages shoppers and residents to use the space for extended periods of time. The use of wood decking satisfies stormwater requirement for pervious surfacing, and introduces a warm but sophisticated design element not often found in retail centers. The personalized spaces, thoughtful attention to detail, and commitment to sustainability create a place that invites the community to explore the center for a full range of lifestyle and entertainment activities. The new plaza and its vibrant character is a place people will remember and brings new richness to Arlington County’s commercial center.
Troia is a resort peninsula located along the coast of Portugal, 45 minutes south of Lisbon. A combination of existing and proposed facilities, the site will be redeveloped with sensitivity to its rich history and compelling landscape. Mahan Rykiel teamed with developers and planners to create a master plan with four key components: a Town center, Beach Zone, Resort Hotel and an Eco-Resort which is planned for the first phase. MRA developed additional guidelines which included:
• Incorporation of existing Robert Trent Jones Golf Course
• Small overall limit of disturbance
• Building orientation
• Emphasis on sustainable energy
• Viewshed studies
The plan for Troia respects the environment within a context of responsible leisure, interpretation, and access.
Situated on 420 hectares, this existing 18 hole golf course is located on the southern coast of Portugal. Mahan Rykiel Associates provided a preliminary Master Plan for a 150 room hotel, conference center, villas, condos and an additional 9 holes of golf. Working with Robert Trent Jones Jr. Golf Course Architects, MRA reworked some of the existing facilities into the proposed development. Maintaining 18 operating holes during construction was key to the ultimate routing. New villas are situated on ridge lines to afford views to the ocean or the golf course. The hotel is nestled halfway up the hillside, providing a central location with easy golf and beach access. The plan maintains the natural character of the landform and establishes dramatic views to the Atlantic Ocean within the resort complex.
This proposal presents solutions to the quotidian and leverages strategic interests to ensure the bold is feasible. It doesnot ask for a suspension of disbelief, but a will to envision.
Pennsylvania Avenue, west of the White House is in the shadow of the Monumental Core, wedged between international business, an urban campus, and a vibrant downtown. This juxtaposition of scale, program, and character has mottled the experience and identity of Pennsylvania Avenue. However, it has also created an opportunity to reinvent – to establish a new personality for this iconic corridor. To successfully reimagine the public realm of Pennsylvania Avenue requires more than a facelift. It requires the recognition that this corridor has its own place in the life of the city – related to but different from its notable counterpart to the east. This design effort requires fashioning a clear identity, cultivating character, and connecting its storied past to its evolving future.
Pennsylvania Avenue’s past is embedded in the fabric of the District and the power of a nation. As the road that connects the White House to the Capitol, Pennsylvania Avenue is the nation’s corridor of power. Political and institutional infrastructure frames the streetscape. Monumental vistas and symbolic landmarks express the exchange of ideas and transfer of power that has and continues to occur behind closed doors and in public debate. West of the White House, exists another corridor of power, one whose infrastructure is hidden not behind closed doors, but in and below the ground. As early as L’Enfant and Ellicott, and continuing with McMillan, Pennsylvania Avenue west of the White House has served as an infrastructural corridor carrying conduits of electricity, water, and transportation to the heart of the city. (The Washington & Georgetown Railroad ran its first line down Pennsylvania Avenue in 1862. Public fresh water was first brought to the city via the Washington Aqueduct in 1864.)
The Mahan Rykiel team is proposing a design approach that is both figurative and formal. Power serves as a conceptual bridge to frame and structure the narrative of Pennsylvania Avenue west of the White House as distinct from, as well as, a foil to Pennsylvania Avenue east of the White House. Physically, an updated infrastructure of power articulated along a renewed streetscape will serve to unify the public realm and create a cohesive experience for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists in the form of enhanced bike lanes, stormwater management features, and alternative energy elements (photovoltaic charging stations, LED lights, piezoelectric surfaces, etc.). This expression of power will be amplified in the public right of way alongside Murrow and Monroe parks with flush curbs, special paving, and planting details in order to facilitate the large gatherings and events that are quintessential to the energy of the nation’s capital.
Through the language of power, the public realm of Pennsylvania Avenue will address the challenges of a grand boulevard, meeting the needs of today while paving the way for a vibrant future.
Working with a partnership of State College Borough, Penn State University, and Downtown State College, Inc., Mahan Rykiel led a planning and design team in preparation of a master plan for the community’s downtown. The plan focused on establishing and marketing a strong downtown identity; establishing a framework to create an attractive and vibrant public realm; and identifying public and private sector improvements to diversify downtown businesses, users and residents. The plan is grounded in market realities and broad stakeholder participation.
Specific recommendations of the plan include streetscape and open space enhancements to improve pedestrian safety and transportation options, improve the downtown image and enhance the Town-Gown relationship between the community and the University. Recommendations also incorporated a complete community branding program including logos, wayfinding signage and marketing collateral materials to better promote downtown to internal and external markets. Lastly, the plan provided a framework for the community to guide additional development in a positive manner. The partners will use a detailed strategy board to guide short, mid and long-term implementation.
PA Chapter of the American Planning Association’s “Great Place in PA” Award
This award-winning building provides four floors of rental housing for both students at the University of Baltimore and the general public in the Mt. Royal neighborhood of Baltimore City. It also includes a Barnes & Noble bookstore on the first floor. Mahan Rykiel Associates designed two distinct courtyards for the building and a cohesive streetscape plan for the site which connects to Penn Station, Light Rail and the adjacent Arts District. Nestled in the heart of the apartments are two distinct courtyards. The Pool Courtyard is visible from the main building entrance, and includes a water wall, pool fountain jets and special paving to articulate the main pedestrian route. Lush planting provides privacy to the apartment units and screens the adjacent retail. The private courtyard within the building functions as an outdoor living room for residents and includes a fire place, outdoor dining area, and special lighting. Seating areas are separated by a bamboo grove and small fountain. MRA has created a simple and elegant plan that serves the public and private functions of this vibrant new community.
Award of Excellence, ULI
New Construction Award,USGBC MD Chapter Sustainable Buildings
As the result of an overall campus master plan, Johns Hopkins University identified the redevelopment of its open space system as the most critical project for implementation. Mahan Rykiel Associates, in conjunction with a team of architects and engineers, prepared an Open Space Plan which addressed circulation issues, with the goal of creating a pedestrian campus environment. Brick and marble paving materials coordinate with the facade of adjacent buildings, and pathways were oriented to maximize efficient circulation and available green space. Lighting, seating, and other site amenities were also improved throughout the campus. Security issues have been addressed by means of planting, rather than fencing, wherever possible. Several distinct and identifiable open spaces, or quads, were defined as part of the plan. These provided opportunities for relaxation and recreation while preserving the traditional character of the campus. Homewood House, home to Charles Carroll of Carrollton, and one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence is located in the center of this historic campus and design decisions were made to respect the historic home, such as not placing electric lighting too close to the building.
Merit Award, MD/Potomac ASLA
Homewood House – National Register of Historic Places since 1971
Mahan Rykiel is providing landscape design services for a mixed-use retail and residential development in China. The new mall features a large plaza connecting the subway to the retail and residential towers. Adjacent to the retail center are high-rise apartments. MRA designed the residential courtyard for this new housing development. MRA also designed a sunken plaza in front of the mall which connects the mall to the underground subway station. As the overall site designers, the open space vernacular reflects the architecture in both the retail center and courtyard for the residents in the high-rise apartments. Mahan Rykiel worked closely with the client and an interdisciplinary design team.
The Children’s Inn is a non-profit, residential facility for children in treatment at NIH and their families. It is a warm, comforting place that supports the physical and emotional needs of residents during a stressful period in their lives. Mahan Rykiel created the Master Plan for a Children’s Park that would provide a place for patients, siblings and their families to enjoy the outdoors in a safe and comfortable environment. Understanding that children will range widely in age and may be of limited physical capabilities, the Park has flexible spaces to accommodate a variety of individual or group activities.
The Plan includes:
Active play equipment and walking paths
Private, quiet spaces
A cheerful atmosphere with colorful windsock displays, playful climbing elements
Amphitheater for programmed events such as storytelling or performances
The first phase of the Children’s Inn playground was completed in July 2012 by more than 150 volunteers from Medimmune, The Children’s Inn and organizers from KaBOOM! The park was completed in May 2013.
As part of a major expansion of Mercy’s downtown Baltimore hospital, the new 18-story tower provides 15 state-of-the-art operating facilities, private in-patient rooms and other key programs and services. Mahan Rykiel Associates was responsible for the design of three rooftop gardens and all street level improvements. Located on three levels, each garden has distinct design elements tailored to the adjacent hospital care units:
8th floor/Maternity – Offers a bubbling fountain, commissioned sculpture, shady trellis, ample tables and chairs, and lush plantings geared to both visitors and patients
9th floor/Intensive care – Provides a smaller space, with quiet, more secluded seating areas appropriate for small groups of visitors and staff
10th floor – Small planted area for visual access only
With 10 floors of the hospital overlooking the roof gardens which are visible from the elevator lobbies, the gardens serve an important wayfinding function. The gardens allowed the hospital to eliminate the need for at grade storm water remediation, reduced heating and cooling costs for the building and will extend the life of the roof.
Honor Award, MD/ Potomac ASLA
ULI Wavemaker Award
Presidential Citation for Urban Design Washington Chapter of AIA
The U.S. National Arboretum is situated on 446 acres and was established in 1927 by an Act of Congress to conduct research and conserve trees, shrubs and flowers to enhance the environment. As part of an on-call contract with the Arboretum, Mahan Rykiel Associates developed plans for the new Flowering Tree Walk. Described as a necklace which links the various garden “jewels” at the Arboretum, this accessible walk connects the Visitor Center with the Capitol Columns, winding through the Aquatic Collection, the Bonsai Museum, Herb Collection, Fern Valley and Azalea Collection. MRA developed a planting design for a walk to emphasize color throughout the year, with plants that vary in bark, flower, berry and leaf color.
Mahan Rykiel was part of a resource team retained by the Mississippi Main Street Association to provide urban design services for six communities in central and north Mississippi. The communities included Eupora, Laurel, Heidelberg, Columbus, Ellisville and West Point. The resource team’s focus during these efforts was to provide specific, short-term implementation recommendations for the historic downtowns in each town to build upon stakeholder input and revitalization efforts currently underway. Mahan Rykiel specifically provided guidance on site planning for mixed-use development, streetscape and open space design. Mahan Rykiel used 3-D modeling to effectively illustrate how thoughtful development, streetscapes and opens spaces could transform underutilized property and reinforce critical linkages among districts.
The Woodrow Wilson Bridge is the only Potomac River crossing in the southern half of the Washington, DC region. Designated as both I-495 and I-95, this heavily traveled bridge plays a significant role in the regional transportation system and will be one of the most complex urban transportation improvement projects in the nation. The project involves construction of a twin-bridge, 12-lane, moveable span facility, including major upgrades of four adjacent interchanges and a Deckover joining Rosalie Island to trails in both Maryland and Virginia.
Mahan Rykiel’s design for Rosalie Island features a traditional, Olmsted-inspired park layout with broad expanses of lawn surrounded by large shade and flowering trees. Conceived as a bridge over the bridge, the Deckover flanks the island and provides a direct pedestrian and bicycle connection to Alexandria. The View Garden Deckover commands dramatic views to Washington, DC and Potomac River landmarks. Winding, accessible paths provide a dramatic sequence of spaces leading up to an open park that includes a meadow, wetland interpretation area, and observation pier.
Mahan Rykiel was responsible for refining the Design Development plans, developing Construction Documents and planting plans for all areas. Coordination with the four jurisdictions and more than 60 agencies involved with the bridge has been a significant part of the project.
When Pope John Paul II visited Baltimore in 1995, he carried a message of hope and under standing, concern for the poor and respect for religious freedom. The new Pope John Paul II memorial prayer garden embodies these same ideals, inviting people to contemplate the themes of the late pontiff in a setting archdiocesan leaders described as a “bold” spiritual oasis. Working closely with the Archdiocese, Mahan Rykiel designed an 8,000 square foot garden with a circular form which is embracing and inclusive central themes to the Pope’s legacy. A larger than life statue of Pope John Paul II is the focal point of the garden on a marble pedestal. Pathways guide visitors through the garden, along a high wall which bears inscriptions of quotes from Pope John Paul II and some of his prayers. Other elements include markers highlighting both religious freedom and the history of the Catholic Church in the United States.
MGM National Harbor is a $1.5 billion mixed-use resort, the newest addition to the booming multiuse National Harbor development situated along the Potomac Riverfront. A 23-acre destination resort casino, the project also includes a mix of retail, entertainment and dining.
Mahan Rykiel designed the exterior public areas and entrances, including the:
West Casino Terrace
North and South Terraces
Hotel Pool Deck
Hotel, VIP and Bus Drop-Offs
The is designed to reflect the same level of quality and sophistication as other iconic MGM hotels while respecting the geography and history of the area. Monumental, serene and rich in material selection, the key challenge of MGM National Harbor is allowing for human-scale comfort and intimacy, focused around attracting
a broad range of visitors. The premier outdoor area is the West Casino Terrace, which features an interactive fountain, LED screens, and performance and gathering spaces—with inspiring views of National Harbor and the Potomac River.
Seeing the Pigtown Main Street as poised for revitalization, the Mahan Rykiel Associates team has taken a holistic planning and analysis approach that capitalizes on the unique characteristics of Pigtown which make it such a tremendous asset for the City of Baltimore. Informed by physical and market assessments, the project will identify recommendations that provide a road map and set of tools to guide the continued growth of the community—including streetscape improvements, as well as strategies for marketing Pigtown Main Street’s identity and development potential.
The Wutai Hilton is the flagship hotel for tourists visiting the Wutai World Heritage Site, an area encompassing 5 mountain peaks and the ancestral home of Buddhism in China. The heritage region boasts nearly 1500 historic, temples, sites and artifacts. Private traffic is strictly limited with access for most tourists originating at the Hilton or the adjacent visitor center. The concept for the hotel complex respects traditional Chinese architectural and garden themes. The hotel overlooks a new lake and pleasure garden for guests developed as the thematic focal point and was designed for both passive recreation and a venue for a variety of activities, events and conferences. Additional gardens and courtyards animate the grounds blurring the line between architecture and landscape. The periphery of the complex respects and pays homage to the native pine forests, naturally blending the complex into the existing mountainous landscape. The arrival courtyard was designed to handle the loading and unloading of multiple tourist buses at the same time while recognizing the need for it to be perceived as a human scaled space; a people friendly overlook for the lake-park. This was accomplished through the use of architectural elements (the overlook pavilion), and a rich pallete of paving materials, water features, art and landscape.
At almost two acres, the pool deck at the Sheraton Convention Center Hotel provides a multi-faceted amenity and activity center that overlooks the harbor and City of Old San Juan. A 50-meter infinity pool is the centerpiece of the palm studded deck that includes a children’s “fun fountain”, a spa and an adult “social” pool adjacent to the bar and grill. An “Events Garden” provides the hotel with a unique profit center both day and night, that can host several hundred people while keeping the bar-grill and main pool deck open for general use. Structural limitations of deck penetration required that MRA find creative solutions to the pool layout and locations for major plantings. MRA provided full services from concept design through contract documents and construction administration.
Mahan Rykiel Associates is working with an international design team that includes Martha Schwartz Partners to create a new park near Merriweather Post Pavilion. The plan provides an array of venues designed to make the park a destination for the community. A new amphitheater is the focal point for Symphony Woods. The stark fence that currently separates Merriweather and Symphony Woods will be replaced by a semi-natural venue called the “Caterpillar” designed by Martha Schwartz. This 12-foot-high structure will have an outer shell that will be made of natural vegetation and will be an interactive venue, rather than a barrier. Mahan Rykiel is responsible for the overall landscape design including the entries and for linking the various areas of the park through a system of pathways and boardwalks. MRA is also designing custom site furnishings for the park. Other areas include the “Lilypad”, “Picnic Table”, “Playground” and “The Butterfly” designed to be enjoyed by all age groups. The park will be constructed in phases as funding becomes available.
Mahan Rykiel Associates provided concept and design development services for this new 250-bed hospital built on 11 acres of County-owned land in Cedar Grove, New Jersey. This new facility replaces a century-old building with a state of the art hospital for the state’s most vulnerable patients. The site design utilized the dramatic topography to create outdoor rooms and courtyards that complement the architecture. The campus plan includes a greenhouse for therapy, passive and active recreation as well as a meditative garden.
The goal of the landscape development for this new 5000-seat arena was to create an outdoor venue that would provide easy access between buildings in the athletic district, create multiple places for spectators to enjoy the festive activities on game days, and allow flexible space for other large campus and community events. The ‘Tiger Lawn’ is the largest usable part of the site and serves as a unifying element for the new Arena by providing an important physical link between the buildings. This open lawn also offers informal seating for tailgating and other campus events and can accommodate tables, chairs, tents, or vendor stations. A diagonal walk crosses the front of the site allowing an accessible route from the main campus to the ticket area. Accented with flags, banners and lighting along the edge, this main entrance highlights activities throughout the academic year. Stairs from the northwest corner of the site provide access between the existing Unitas Stadium and the new Arena complex servicing athletes who utilize the two facilities on a regular basis. This significant grade change creates an opportunity for a series of terraced rain gardens and informal seating on game days or other occasions when large numbers of students are expected on the site.
Mahan Rykiel is part of a Vermont Downtown Action Team (VDAT) retained by the Vermont Downtown Program to work with eight towns impacted by Tropical Storm Irene. The VDAT conducted intensive charrettes in each community, working with public and private stakeholders to give direction on economic development, marketing and physical improvement initiatives to strengthen their downtowns.
The VDAT was sensitive to build upon, rather than reinvent, initiatives that the communities already had underway and assisted them in consensusbuilding and prioritizing. A significant component of the effort included developing implementation plans for each community and working with them in securing grant funding for initial projects. Mahan Rykiel’s focus included public realm enhancements and development/redevelopment strategies.
A former industrial site cut off from Baltimore’s Inner Harbor for more than 140 years, is now home to an exciting new venue. Mahan Rykiel Associates, a local landscape architecture and planning firm has partnered with Beatty Development, BHC Architects, Chef Spike Gjerde and Corey Polyoka’s Baltimore Foodshed restaurant group to create Sandlot, a concept based on the most fundamental requirements for successful placemaking – great food, great ambiance, and great fun – but you can bring the kids too.
Sandlot is envisioned as an interim installation as Harbor Point, a 27 acre redevelopment, continues its build out. Mahan Rykiel’s team planned the space in collaboration with BHC Architects and Baltimore Foodshed, using materials like construction grade tubs for growing hops, repurposed wood shipping pallets for sculptural elements like a green wall, planters and an amphitheater to create a vibrant and diverse experience for visitors. Bocce courts are built to spec with basic lumber frames filled with crushed stone; trees grow from galvanized culvert pipe. Tivoli lights frame the various programmed spaces which include beach volleyball, bocce, a hammock lounge area, a climbable play sculpture, dining and open beach area. The material choices are simple but rich in texture and quality and that adherence to basic elements is what gives the project its coherence.
The experience at Sandlot is as diverse and eclectic as the materials that make up the space. Beach Volleyball, Bocce, movies, climbing structures, hammocks, a beach (yes, a beach!) and an offering of food and drink like no other make up an ensemble that ensures hours of entertainment and an experience unlike any other in Baltimore.
Completed in 2017, the Sagamore Pendry Hotel brings an historic landmark to life at the epicenter of the waterfront Fell’s Point neighborhood. The 128 guestroom/luxury
suite hotel includes 10,000 sq.ft of indoor/outdoor event space.
Mahan Rykiel’s role included concept development through construction services for the site. The scope consisted of the hotel entry, two amenity courtyard spaces, guest and presidential terraces as well as streetscape and waterfront promenade design. The pool courtyard includes 5 custom designed cabanas, offering guests solitude for spa services and relaxation. The light color palette and contemporary design aesthetic of the outdoor spaces offer a contrast to the rich, dark warm tones of the architecture’s masculine interior. The guest/presidential terraces command waterfront views, providing an attractive, contemplative setting for residents. Each courtyard addresses a different programmatic requirement, but collectively maintains a strong and cohesive design aesthetic.