BALLSTON QUARTER MALL
Cooper Carry (architect)
VIKA (civil engineer)
Mahan Rykiel Associates
The Ballston Quarter Mall project involves the redevelopment of an aging urban shopping mall located in the Ballston neighborhood of Arlington, Virginia. Landscape scope for this project consists of a retail streetscape, a new plaza and amphitheater, and a new outdoor mews space in what was previously an enclosed galleria. LAB was comprehensively involved in the design and documentation of the project as the landscape architect of record.
Forest City, the developer for this project, took an innovative approach to the redevelopment by investing significant resources in the creation and improvement of the public spaces associated with the existing mall. Perhaps most dramatically, an existing food court was converted into a new outdoor plaza and amphitheater that provides areas for outdoor play, retail dining, and seasonal events. Within the mall itself, a dim and claustrophobic galleria was transformed into a dynamic outdoor mews space whose proportions recall historic European alleys. Converting existing interior spaces, many of them located on structure, into outdoor spaces posed a significant technical and coordination challenge. The LAB design team worked carefully with the architects and a host of consultants in order to shepherd the project through the design and construction process.
Another important component of the project was the streetscape along Wilson Blvd. which was widened and redesigned in order to create a dynamic outdoor dining and pedestrian experience. Hardscape, planting materials, and site furnishings were selected in order to establish Ballston Quarter as a distinctive and recognizable district and provide year-round interest despite the demanding conditions associated with the active retail streetscape.
LAB also led the effort to shepherd the project through the initial public review process with Arlington County and was consistently involved in extensive coordination with the county throughout the design and construction process. The project served as the pilot for Arlington County’s first use of streetscape bioretention planting which required careful coordination with the civil engineering team and the county administrators to make sure that all technical and regulatory aspects of these structures were addressed without negatively impacting the design of the streetscape itself.
Photographs: Matt Renauld, Ballston Quarter Instagram; Renderings: Forest City Washington