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Arlington, VA


Design & Construction Completed 2011


Arlington County




Full Services – Urban Design, Architect of Record

Though Ballston Station Plaza has the potential to be a prominent public space, complementing its status as a multi-modal transit center, several existing conditions hinder this potential. Currently, the limited landscaping located only at the building's perimeter reduces the viability of the retail and exposes the plaza to the distractions of the street and transit activity. Scattered retail vendors, bike racks, and poorly located planters obstruct the flow of pedestrians, reduce visibility, and limit the quality of public space.

WMATA engaged KGP Design Studio to devise four alternative concepts to overcome existing obstacles and breathe new life into this urban landscape. The design locates an expanded landscape zone to reduce conflicts between transit and retail users while creating an active mixed-use urban plaza benefiting both uses. Planting modules will extend along Fairfax Avenue and Stuart Street, serving as a screen and a "docking area" for bus shelters, retail kiosks, bike parking, and other uses. The modules will wrap the plaza/performance area with quiet areas for café seating at the building perimeter. The increased space of pervious ground cover and street trees will reduce the current urban heat island effect while increasing stormwater retention.

In the pursuit of efficiency and to cater to the needs of massive transit, KGP Design Studio played a crucial role in the Ballston Multimodal Plaza urban project. The design prioritized practicality, incorporating an irregular edge to efficiently accommodate buses, infusing dynamism into the urban landscape.

Planters were strategically positioned to establish a human-scale atmosphere, functioning both as simple seating areas and effective bioretention elements. A standout feature is the entire plaza draining into these planters, demonstrating a sustainable approach that seamlessly integrates infrastructure with natural elements. The design includes an unpretentious sitting area within the planters, fostering a communal space for people to gather—a testament to KGP's commitment to shaping urban environments that balance functionality and the human experience.

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