The Upper Rock District comprises 20 acres in Rockville, Maryland, approximately 25 miles north of Washington DC. Located less than one mile from the Shady Grove Metro and within walking distance of a proposed light rail stop, the site is ideally positioned to become a dense, vibrant, transit-oriented development.
The existing plan has approved the construction of three additional office buildings surrounded by surface parking. Given the site’s limited size, its proximity to transit, and development constraints such as a requirement of 40% open space and a brownfield component, it is necessary to develop the site much more densely than proposed by the current plan.
Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company held a public design charrette during which two possible master plans were developed. Both incorporate program elements such as: converted loft units, live-work buildings, green architecture, public squares, an environmental and artistic sound wall, affordable incubator markets, a tele-work center, moderately priced dwelling units (MPDUs), senior housing, and structured parking masked by buildings. The form of the plans, however, is different. Option A is based on a medieval grid, with sweeping curves that seek to make the green architecture explicit. Option B is a more orthogonal grid that features green architecture in a less obvious aesthetic manifestation. The most prominent element of both plans is the environmental and artistic sound wall, which marks the gateway to Rockville and also serves as a solar collector and wind harvester.
Both plans include a restaurant site at the key intersection of Shady Grove and Choke Cherry Road. The new eight-story office building is flanked by additional two-story structures that create small civic squares and engage the street more actively. Market buildings provide moderately-priced incubator space for office and retail. Both plans also incorporate proposals for the configuration of the future parking decks at King Farm, adjacent to the site, in order to create a pedestrian-friendly passage from the neighborhood to the light rail station.