Architecture firm: Hord Coplan Macht
Owner: Brightview Senior Living
Location: North Bethesda, Maryland
Category: Special Recognition
Located on the site of the former home of National Geographic’s longtime editor in North Bethesda, Maryland, the 100,000-square-foot Brightview Grosvenor is an assisted living and memory care community shaped by its context and commitment to sustainability. The project is one of the newest Brightview communities, built for a company that focuses on infill sites and careful design to enhance the communities where its projects are placed. For each of its 45 medium-sized communities throughout the Mid-Atlantic region and New England varies, Brightview favors unique buildings instead of a branded look.
"This charming project was a jury favorite. Its exterior architecture and landscape is very approachable and nestles into the site in a nice way."- Jury Comment
The LEED Gold–certified project occupies a corner of land that was once part of the estate of Gilbert Grosvenor, who in addition to his time at National Geographic, was a pioneering conservationist and supporter of the national park system. A fundamental goal for the project was to fit a substantial building on the site, which is surrounded by an older suburban neighborhood filled with two- and three-story Craftsman-era homes. Following the overarching directives for the project, the design team envisioned a facility that echoes the neighborhood in scale and architectural character and fosters a home-like environment.
The most efficient use of the site required a four-story building, but its massing and siting minimize the project’s impact on the neighborhood. The team sunk the terrace level well below the surrounding roads, giving Brightview Grosvenor the illusion of being just a three-story building from its north entry. Along the west side, where it faces older homes across the street, the building steps between two and three stories, while the first floor sits approximately eight feet below the street.
"The choice of Craftsman style was wise and respectful of the location and the Grosvenor legacy."-Jury Comment
Modern and traditional designs for the facility were explored, but neighbors expressed a strong desire for traditional architecture. Instead of the Tudor Revival style of the nearby historic Grosvenor mansion, the team opted to replicate the Craftsman style of the neighborhood. The style’s Japanese roots, with its clean lines and lack of fussy details, became a common language for a team that normally works in a more modern style.
“This charming project was a jury favorite. Its exterior architecture and landscape is very approachable and nestles into the site in a nice way,” noted the jury. “The choice of Craftsman style was wise and respectful of the location and the Grosvenor legacy. The project feels comfortable and a place where seniors would want to live.”
Brightview Grosvenor clearly demonstrates that seniors who need assistance can be housed in ways that support independence, dignity, and wellness. The project achieves those goals in a sustainable way but still remains financially accessible to the average residents in the area.