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Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia, has announced the details of two conceptual plans for the 190-acre RFK Stadium-Armory Campus site, with design concepts by OMA New York, led by Partner Jason Long, in partnership with DC-based program management team, Brailsford & Dunlavey (B&D).

Located in the southeast corridor of the District, the transformational vision for the iconic RFK Campus delivers holistic concepts for the site that leverage the District’s waterfront, provide neighbourhood-serving amenities and connect the current site with increased and sustainable green space, flexible recreational fields and natural access to pedestrian-friendly paths. The conceptual planning effort also envisions phasing the implementation of short-term and long-term program elements for the site.

Max Brown, Chairman of the Board of Directors for Events DC, said:

After extensive planning, outreach, public input and involvement, the entire Events DC board and staff are so proud to present these two conceptual plans for the RFK Stadium-Armory Campus. Our vision for the Campus’ future – which is aligned with community wants and needs – is to create a special and amazing place that celebrates the District of Columbia’s beauty and history, while also acting as a shining example of urban living that can attract residents and visitors, while at the same time, maintain the rich and strong local identity that currently is appreciated and valued by all of us.

Events DC, in collaboration with OMA New York and Brailsford & Dunlavey (B&D), participated in a series of stakeholder and community engagement sessions that focused on capturing input on a new urban vision for the 190-acre Campus surrounding the historic RFK Stadium, Festival Grounds and the DC Armory. The site benefits from its positioning adjacent to the National Mall axis, prominent neighbourhoods and its access to a waterfront gateway along the Anacostia River, which has been underutilised for decades.

Gregory A. O’Dell, President & Chief Executive Officer of Events DC, said:

The conceptual plans we have unveiled present a once in a lifetime opportunity to reimagine the 190-acre site in a way that delivers an amenity for everyone. It also has the ability to create another vibrant destination within Washington, DC for residents and visitors to enjoy. Our conceptual plans aim to provide accessibility across the Campus’ unique topography and access to nearby waterways while creating dynamic open space.

The conceptual plans are represented through two design concepts (a) North-South Axis and (b) Stitch, each illustrating a different configuration or layout of the site. These design concepts offer two alternative approaches to addressing parking, infrastructure and road network, pedestrian connections, site conditions and program placement.

Within both the North-South Axis and Stitch design concepts, there are three anchor tenant scenarios: (1) a 20,000-seat arena, (2) an NFL stadium and (3) no anchor. All three scenarios reflect a phased approach intended to provide short-term programming elements that will immediately activate the site with uses that will serve the community. Such short-term program uses, which exist in both the North-South Axis and Stitch design concepts, include sport, recreation, culture and park space.

The long-term opportunities for the North-South Axis and Stitch design concepts offer an extension of all of the program elements delivered in the short-term, plus additional long-term program elements, inclusive of an anchor tenant and the related supporting site and infrastructure enhancements.

Jason Long, OMA New York’s Partner-in-charge, commented:

Our goal for both design concepts is to reconnect the Campus to existing neighbourhoods to the north and south, to bring the District closer to the Anacostia waterfront and to transform the site from a space designed for watching sports, dominated by asphalt, into a new gateway to DC that elevates public health with diverse recreational programming. Both concepts provide a strategy for revitalising the Campus’ identity from passive space to active place and transform its urban character from pavement to park.

Chris Dunlavey, President of Brailsford & Dunlavey (B&D), said:

Brailsford & Dunlavey is honoured to have served Events DC in leading such a talented team of professionals to re-envision the future of the storied RFK Campus.

Events DC made a commitment to a deliberate and thoughtful approach to urban planning, fostering collaboration and inclusiveness with project stakeholders and embracing both internationally acclaimed planning inspiration and a pragmatic focus on technical and economic feasibility. We look forward to the continued development of this unique opportunity for the District.

Both design concepts will be evaluated based on the feedback that was received during a citywide meeting that was held on Monday, April 4. Moving the project forward, Events DC will consolidate and post the comments, questions and answers received during the citywide meeting. In addition, Events DC, Brailsford & Dunlavey and OMA New York will provide revisions to the concepts as appropriate and perform a financial feasibility analysis for the program elements.

Main image: Option 1 and this image: Option 2

Main image: Option 1 and this image: Option 2

Sydney convention and entertainment precinct designs at MoMA New York

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Images of the new Sydney International Convention, Exhibition and Entertainment Precinct (SICEEP) are being featured in an exhibition at the prestigious Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York.

The images are digital renderings of the HASSELL + Populous designed venue at Darling Harbour, a project being delivered by the NSW Government.

The images are part of an exhibition called Cut ‘n’ Paste that explores the relationship between collage and architecture. It is on view until 1 December at MoMA’s Architecture and Design gallery.

Populous Senior Principal Richard Breslin said:

Populous has a global reputation in the design of large scale public buildings, including convention and exhibition centres, as well as arenas and theatres and the Sydney precinct has set a new benchmark in venue design. Digital modelling imagery is a great tool we use round the world as it’s an effective means of communicating concepts as design develops, enabling significant projects to come to life for all stakeholders.

Barcelona’s once in a century decision over venues

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Agusti Benedito told delegates to the Stadia & Arena conference in Istanbul that his candidacy for President of the Barcelona club was intimately bound up with venue development. It is not a straightforward contest between spending and not spending money. Talking about the basketball, handball and volleyball, he said:

Barca obviously deserves an arena similar to an O2 London. There is no excuse not to have a new arena. The current board of directors has pledged this. If I become President, Palau Blaugrana arena will take centre stage.

Benedito believes any decision made about the Camp Nou stadium is illegitimate unless the 170,000 socis (owners/club members) cast their vote. Which makes the next presidential election the right time to get a mandate for a properly researched and costed development plan. So that the stadium debate and vote can take place soon, Benedito says that the club’s regulations allow for an election before the current President’s term runs out in 2016.

The regular Barca fan, like me, says he or she desires the best possible stadium but is flexible on the economic situation. That’s why we need to be sure and to get the fans’ opinions.

The Camp Nou has to be improved but not at any cost.

Barcelona’s large complex, which currently houses Camp Nou, Palau Blaugrana (blue red, the colours of Barcelona) and the Mini Estadi, offers the opportunity to develop a masterplan to introduce new sporting and non-sporting elements such as restaurants, museum and hotel. There appear to be opportunities for commercial partnerships to finance renovation of the sporting facilities.

Benedito is clear that a new arena, with its smaller investment requirement, should be built now. He believes the socis agree. On the stadium, there are still the two options of remodelling and rebuilding and Benedito, on balance, thinks remodelling is preferable. He is also clear that:

It will be up to the socis to decide the future of the stadium, the most important decision in 50 years.


Agusti Benedito (left) addresses delegates at the Stadia & Arena conference on the topic of the Barcelona club's venue development plans.

Agusti Benedito (left) addresses delegates at the Stadia & Arena conference on the topic of the Barcelona club’s venue development plans.