Brightview West End

Architecture firm: Hord Coplan Macht

Owner: BrightView Senior Living

Location: Rockville, Maryland

Category: Special recognition

Brightview West End was designed to provide an urban alternative for discerning residents looking for a vibrant lifestyle within a walkable community. The new urban, mixed-use, high-rise retirement community is specifically designed for seniors and is a key part of the larger Rockville Town Square urban infill development. Rockville Town Square—located in the Washington, D.C. metro area, about 20 miles north of the Lincoln Memorial—has been constructed in phases. The first phase included multifamily housing as well as shops and restaurants and opened in the summer of 2007. Brightview West End is one of the major landmarks of the Town Square’s second phase. The 268,000-square-foot building opened in 2017.

Project goal

Most retirement communities are constructed in suburban, or even rural areas, where the land is much more bountiful and less expensive. Our goal was to seamlessly blend the Brightview community into the urban environment of Rockville allowing the residents to benefit from the surrounding Town Square amenities. The project embraces the lively surroundings and sells that convenience as a feature.

Unique features

The Brightview West End concept went far beyond creating a more vertical version of a typical senior living community. Located in the vibrant Rockville Town Square, the city planners, and Brightview leadership, embraced the concept of having the ground floor open to the public at large.

While access was a guiding principle in designing the street level of the building, exclusivity became a focus for the top floor. On this “club level,” there are penthouse apartments with a concierge to handle resident requests such as calling for transportation or ordering room service. Amenities on this penthouse level include a breakfast cafe, a wraparound balcony, a lounge that could be used for events, and an art gallery. The building’s design also incorporates a six-story tall mosaic art installation called “The Tree of Life,” created in partnership with a local arts organization, which includes individual tiles and other contributions designed by a diverse cross-section of people from the area. In this, the mosaic reflects how Brightview West End fosters lasting and meaningful intergenerational connections between its residents and the community at large.

Brightview operates under the SPICE (Spiritual, Physical, Intellectual, Cultural, and Emotional) approach to senior living. Brightview West End was designed to support this approach with many different activity spaces, expansive on-site amenities and dining areas. These spaces allow for the staff to have greater flexibility and for the residents to have greater choice.

Brightview West End is truly community-integrated. With publicly-accessible amenities, a Walk Score© of 90, excellent public transit, and a plethora of walkable retail, restaurants and recreation, residents have access to something no building alone can provide: naturally-occurring intergenerational interaction. On any given day residents may encounter young people ordering coffee at ‘Mingles’, the ground-level cafe, or enjoy walking to a public concert in the Town Square. The central location in Rockville makes it highly appealing and convenient for adult children and grandchildren.

A fully-equipped fitness center with senior-friendly fitness classes helps residents to gain and maintain health and mobility. An expansive green roof and multiple outdoor amenity spaces help to maximize connection with the outdoors within the broader development. The design of Brightview West End is centered on the belief that seniors can still live healthy, active, and engaged lives.

Design challenges

The design team was challenged to meet several client goals in the implementation of this project. Rockville Town Square development requirements mandated public access retail uses. The creative response was to add ground-level retail, not only to meet the zoning mandate, but also to connect Brightview into the city’s economy and community and to offer opportunities for intergenerational interaction. The security of residents remains paramount and is maintained by having a centrally located street-level receptionist who doubles as a concierge and security officer, and monitors access to the elevators, garage, coffee shop and spa.

"A significant effort was made to create successful sustainability aspect. This project is a great example of bringing the community in." - Jury comment

Rockville Town Square developers also required the project to meet several zoning metrics, including sustainability standards and a 12.5 % inclusionary housing mandate. On a tight, 0.8-acre site, integrating sustainable elements required creative solutions. An extensive green roof was incorporated not only to absorb excess water and reduce runoff, but also to offer welcome greenspace in the urban center. Several apartments within the building were provided to offer an affordable option for potential residents, meeting the 12.5% inclusionary housing mandate, and resulting in a mixed-income community.

An enriching experience for Dementia Care residents was a top priority, and providing secure care with an outdoor space on a tight site required thoughtful and intentional planning. The final design included a glass-enclosed deck and garden with a variety of seating options and gathering spaces on the third floor. From here, residents enjoy a private and protected outdoor space, protected from the elements. Views of the community’s expansive green roof and out into the bustling Rockville Town Square community further add to the experience. The 26 Dementia Care apartments are also provided with LED nightlights, some with sensors, to assist with cueing residents to bathrooms.

Additional information

Project attributes

Project site context/setting: urban

Is this project a LifePlan Community? No

Provider type: for profit

Target market: middle/upper middle

Project area - GSF of new construction: 268,000

Project area - GSF of additions: n/a

Project area - GSF of renovations: n/a

Project team

Artist: Art at Large

Engineer - MEP: Century Engineering

Engineering - structural: Structura

General Contractor: CBG Builders Group

Interior design: Aumen Asner

Landscape Architecture: Hord Coplan Macht


Quinn deMenna, AIA, Chair, City Invincible, Camden, New Jersey

Steve Leone, AIA, Spiezle Architectural Group, Inc., New York, NY

Steve Lindsey, Garden Spot Village, New Holland, Pennsylvania

Dean Maddalena, Studio Six5, Austin, TX

Rhonda Spector, 2Life Communities, Brighton, Massachusetts

Image credits

Brightview West End-05

Patrick Ross Photography

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Patrick Ross Photography

Brightview West End-07

Patrick Ross Photography

Brightview West End-04

Patrick Ross Photography

Brightview West End-03

Patrick Ross Photography