Partnering with VIKA Means Engaging Collaboration, Smart Planning and Design Excellence

VIKA’s proactive role in the Somerset Pool and Bath House (SPBH) project helped attain “Design Excellence Jury Citation” award.  This prestigious recognition is granted by the Montgomery County Planning Department (MCPD). In this project, VIKA partnered with McInturff Architects and county stakeholders to provide planning expertise, permitting management and civil engineering services.

“The Design Excellence Award is intended to inspire architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design of the best possible quality in Montgomery County,” says Gwen Wright, MCPD Director. “Design excellence is becoming increasingly important as the amount of available land for development is shrinking,” says Wright.

The winning projects portray exceptional design and contribute to the community in terms of character, identity, and economic value. In particular, the jury was impressed by the SPBH smart design decisions and the way in which the building shapes the sense of community.

“This sensitive design of a community facility addresses landscape architecture and excellent place-making within the context of adaptive re-use,” said the jurors.

Helping Our Clients with Strategic Planning and Active Collaboration

The main challenge of the SPBH project was its location in Little Falls Branch stream buffer—an environmentally sensitive area. The proximity of the creek resulted in complex permitting and stormwater planning for the site.

It was clear from the very beginning that the town members were environmentally concerned about renovating this 40-year-old structure. Approval from the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission was the most important step the town needed to accomplish in order to make any improvements to the bathhouse.

“VIKA contributed to the success of this project by teaming up with town representatives, the Architect and other team members to work through local, county, state and federal regulations for the planning, engineering and permitting,” says Jason Evans, VIKA Associate. “We helped steer the project through the intricate and continually evolving regulations and laws of different agencies.”

VIKA designed wetlands and bioretention facilities to help reduce the direct discharge into the adjacent stream while improving water quality in the area.

“During the process, we helped guide the design and led coordination between multiple agencies to minimize impacts on the stream and forest,” says Evans. “I’m pleased to be part of the design team who worked on such a unique and successful project.”

How to Connect with Us

“VIKA has the knowledge and capacity of a large firm, but provides personal and hands-on service of a small firm,” adds Evans. With offices in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC, VIKA provides engineering, planning, landscape architecture, surveying, and 3D laser scanning services.

To offer feedback, find answers on VIKA’s design capability, or just looking to partner with a trusted client, visit or call 301.916.4100.