Posts tagged with "OMA":

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OMA releases render of its first full-scale NYC project

Rem Koolhaas's Delirious New York may the architect's most famous work, but despite decades of practice, his international firm OMA hasn't designed a newly-built structure in the Big Apple (the firm has designed many interiors and unrealized projects). That's changing with 121 East 22nd St., a residential project designed by OMA's New York office and its principal Shohei Shigematsu. “The design of the 133-unit residential block was driven by the duality of its context," said Shigematsu in a press release. "Punched windows echoing the façade of its pre-war neighbors seamlessly transition to contemporary, floor-to-ceiling glazed windows towards the corner, forming a gradient from historic to modern.” The building will rise 18 stories, contain 133 residential units, and feature ground floor retail. Toll Brothers City Living is the developer while SLCE Architects is the architects-of-record.  
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OMA and Taryn Simon design striking concrete installation for Park Avenue Armory

There is a new architectural landmark in New York City but you need to rush and see it before September 25th. That's when it will be taken down and moved to London. The landmark is not a building but a temporary installation of eleven concrete silos by artist Taryn Simon dubbed An Occupation of Loss and located in the Park Avenue Armory. Designed in collaboration with OMA and its lead New York partner Shohei Shigematsu, the silos (or soundproof “inverted wells”) are made of pre-cast concrete. The wells are not simply backdrops to Simon’s theatrical installation—which features a number of professional mourners—but integral elements to the performance and unique architectural objects. They are 45 feet in height and create a sensation of being at the bottom of a well. In total, the eleven towers weigh 165,000 pounds. The odd number of wells was regulated by the artist's preference to have a center point; they are arranged into an ellipse with a 44-foot radius. Each silo is composed of 8 stacked concrete rings that are 8 feet 10 inches in diameter. The wells, which have the appearance of massive Aldo Rossi memory towers, act as acoustic tunnels that echo sound upward and through the massive drill hall during a performance. According to a press release, OMA conceptualized the structures as a collective that resembles an organ: each pipe is intended to be occupied by 1 to 3 performers and produce its own distinct sound (which ranges from purely oral to instrumental to distinct mourning rituals). A singular plinth/platform raises the concrete pipes 9 inches off the ground to distribute their structural load. Furthermore, each well has a ramp for attendees to enter as performances are taking place. A seating ledge for the performers—who are professional mourners—occupies a portion of each space. The silos were manufactured by Coastal Pipeline in Long Island and, while similar industrial pipes would be made of a 9-inch thick concrete, these are only 5 inches thick. An Occupation of Loss is on view at the Park Avenue Armory through September 25, 2016. Mourners activate the installation each evening from Tuesday through Sunday for a series of 50-minute performances. During the daytime, visitors are free to wander and activate the sculpture to produce a cacophony of sound.
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This new app from OMA and Bengler wants to disrupt the sharing economy

At the 2016 Oslo Architecture Triennale, Rotterdam-based firm OMA and Oslo-based interaction designers Bengler debuted PANDA, a startup that addresses the social and political implications of digital sharing platforms such as Uber and Airbnb, as well as their impact on the built environment. They explain that while Silicon Valley optimism sells itself as democratic and empowering—an alternative to centralized commercial and social structures—they are actually detrimental to the working classes that support these networks with their labor. The Silicon Valley approach fragments and atomizes the labor force by leveraging workers' private property while keeping them in a constant state of freelance contract work. For example, while Uber sells itself to drivers by offering them the opportunity to "own the moment," featuring a model in a suit getting out of a luxury car. However, we all know that this is not the reality for most drivers. Uber has a clause in their terms of use that states that drivers can only resolve disputes with the company as "individuals." As a result of maneuvers like this, many workers have almost no power to negotiate or bargain with the "new Rome," located somewhere near San Francisco. PANDA would locate and organize people into groups that have shared interests and resources to organize counteractions against these empires of Silicon Valley, or "algocrats," as the creators, OMA’s Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli and Bengler’s Even Westwang and Simen Svale Skogsrud, explained. For example, Airbnb is trying to get into China. PANDA would identify people with "shared leverage" like potential drivers. Then, these people may be able to organize and effectively challenge them to get better conditions. Or, perhaps these groups could pool their money to buy a lawyer. PANDA creates webs of temporary alignment where discontent and leverage turn into action potential. For architecture, "Unrest is staged against app-based, short-term accommodation platforms and the conversion of entire buildings into de facto hotels," they explained. PANDA is a for-profit corporation and the owners claim that as it grows, it will become more powerful but will not overextend itself. By linking like-minded people together, the app would actively use the framework of sharing technology against itself. PANDA's language emerges from combining activism with the hyper-domestic offices of Airbnb, etc., as well as brainstorming culture and personal performance metrics.
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OMA’s Taipei Performing Arts Center comes into view

Scaffolding on OMA's Performing Arts Center in Taipei has begun to come down, unveiling the building's bulbous facade. Made from aluminum, the facade encases the Proscenium Playhouse and Multiform Theater. An auditorium, the spherical Proscenium Playhouse caters for an audience of 800. Regarding its relationship to the main building, OMA said it "resembles a suspended planet docking with the cube." Audiences will circulate between an "inner and outer shell" to enter the space, meanwhile inside, "the intersection of the inner shell and the cube forms a unique proscenium that creates any frame imaginable." Also seating 800—and located within the sphere—is the Multiform Theater. A "flexible" space, the theater will play host to a range of experimental performances. It sits opposite the building's focal point: The Grand Theater. According to OMA, it will be "contemporary evolution of the large theater spaces of the 20th century." The Grand theater can be merged with its opposite partner to form the "Super Theater." Here, the "experimental, factory-like environment" will be able to accommodate productions that demand exceptionally large stage settings such as B.A. Zimmermann's opera Die Soldaten (1958), which requires a 100-meter-long stage. The Super Theater will also offer the chance for existing productions to be scaled up. According to the firm, the project aims to address the following questions: "Why have the most exciting theatrical events of the past 100 years taken place outside the spaces formally designed for them? Can architecture transcend its own dirty secret, the inevitability of imposing limits on what is possible?" Discussing their approach further, OMA added:
In recent years, the world has seen a proliferation of performance centers that, according to a mysterious consensus, consist of more or less an identical combination: a 2,000-seat auditorium, a 1,500-seat theatre, and a black box. Overtly iconic external forms disguise conservative internal workings based on 19th century practice (and symbolism: balconies as evidence of social stratification). Although the essential elements of theatre- stage, proscenium, and auditorium- are more than 3,000 years old, there is no excuse for contemporary stagnation. TPAC takes the opposite approach: experimentation in the internal workings of the theatre, producing (without being conceived as such) the external presence of an icon.
Construction on the project has so far taken four years and the Performing Arts Center is due to officially open in 2017. OMA won the commission to design the center in 2009. Rem Koolhaas and David Gianotten are the two partners working on the project.
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OMA’s Shohei Shigematsu spreads his wings in Québec City

As with much of OMA’s recent work, the firm’s latest building is exemplary for what it lacks. Instead of the complex structural flourishes of the CCTV Headquarters and many of the firm’s other mid-aughts projects, the Pierre Lassonde Pavilion at the Musee National des Beaux Arts du Québec (MNBAQ) is a lesson in more subtle design maneuvers: Its stacked massing, articulated in three varieties of glass, contains contemporary Québécois art and design galleries connected by a curvilinear glass balustrade and a predominantly white palette. Yet the most notable absence at the June 24 inauguration was that of OMA founder Rem Koolhaas. Instead, Shohei Shigematsu, who heads the firm’s New York office and served as partner-in-charge on the MNBAQ addition, spoke on behalf of the firm and explained that changes are indeed underway inside OMA as he led press and visitors through the new building.

Koolhaas’s absence at the inauguration by no means signals his retreat from design duties at the firm that, until recently, derived nearly all of its notoriety from the prestige associated with his own work and name. He continues to lead many of the firm’s most high-profile projects, last year’s Fondazione Prada in Milan and next year’s Taipei Performing Arts Center among them. Yet the pronounced emphasis at the recent inauguration on Shigematsu’s tenure as director of OMA New York bespeaks a new phase in OMA’s trajectory, one in which numerous of the firm’s seven partners work with greater autonomy from Koolhaas himself. “Me being recognized or other partners being recognized — not just Rem, actually reinforces the identity of the organization,” Shigematsu told The Architect's Newspaper at the Québec inauguration. He is by no means an outlier in this development. Rotterdam-based partners Reinier de Graaf and Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli have also grown prominent within the OMA cosmology in recent years, the former as a polemicist and the latter for his preservation work and leadership of the firm’s ongoing, manifold collaboration with Prada. The present devolution of design authority is markedly different from the firm’s operations a decade prior, when numerous of the leading architects at OMA, like Bjarke Ingels, Ole Scheeren, and Joshua Prince-Ramus, began leaving to open their own offices. “I’m basically, probably doing the same thing inside [the firm],” Shigematsu noted, “A lot of senior people have started to stay.”

On the Grande Allée in Québec City, the Pierre Lassonde Pavilion acts as an intermediary between traffic along one of the city’s main arteries and the National Battlefields Park where the museum’s three other buildings are situated. The new building also expands connections between the capital of Francophone Canada and the international art milieu, as it shares formal tropes with recent cultural institutions designed elsewhere by OMA (the MNBAQ’s gold elevator core shares a chromatic palette with Prada and Laparelli’s recently-completed Fondaco dei Tedeschi in Venice, Italy). Shigematsu is quick to note that the shared color schemes across partners are part and parcel of an expanding practice: “Not just metallic, but the attention to detail and refinement that we can bring,” he mused. “We have the luxury to now build so much with a sense of maturity as an architecture firm.”

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What could have been: OMA’s proposal for Chicago’s Lucas Museum of Narrative Art

  International firm OMA submitted a design for the proposed Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Chicago. Though the project has fallen through (Michael Sorkin wants to keep it in Chicago, but move it farther South), and the museum was to be designed by New York studio MAD Architects, the original OMA proposal has now been released. The Lucas Museum aimed to showcase the the art of storytelling though various collections including digital art, multi-media displays, and illustrations, all alongside educational programs. Opposition from public advocacy group Friends of the Parks stopped the museum's realization; now Lucas will try to bring his proposal back to California, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The Lucas Museum aimed to showcase the the art of storytelling though various collections including digital art, multi-media displays, and illustrations, all alongside educational programs. Opposition from public advocacy group Friends of the Parks stopped the museum's realization; now Lucas will try to bring his proposal back to California, according to the Chicago Tribune.
OMA's submission, led by New York-based partner Shohei Shigematsu, made use of an ETFE (Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) skin that formed pillows, wrapping around the building in a dome-like fashion. The fluorine-based polymer would aid the creation of an atrium and sky park that would make way for vertical gallery spaces. Light would permeate through the membrane while the structure would take on an easily identifiable form. In articulating the gallery space in such a way, space underneath could also be used for a new urban park that would amplify the building's blurring of open and closed spaces. In addition to this, the building would also house a theater and a series of lecture halls that would be accommodated at the base of the building. Aside from letting light in, the building's ETFE skin would also serve as a canvas for projections, turning the park below into an outdoor cinema.
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AMO designs Prada’s 2017 Spring/Summer set space

OMA's internationally-based research, branding, and publication studio AMO has designed the set of Italian fashion brand Prada's Spring Summer 2017 show.

Formed in 1999, 24 years after Rem Koolhaas founded the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), AMO is the architecture practice's research think-tank. Directed by Reinier de Graaf, a partner at OMA, AMO addresses issues surrounding architectural production and other mediums such as fashion, print, online media. Past projects include a redesign of the EU flag and being a leader in the production of Volume magazine.

In 2011, the group worked with Prada on the confusingly titled OMA*AMO for/with Prada, an exhibition in Venice. This year, OMA's Shohei Shigematsu designed the exhibition space for Manus x Machina at the Met.

This year's project for Prada, however, is on a much larger scale. The design features a catwalk runway divided into three zigzagging segments that slope down to the audience seating. The upper-most level, the entry gangway, is located behind a mesh-crafted colonnade.

Made from metal, the mesh dominates the interior space and allows an array of colored lighting to permeate through and illuminate the space. "Generating an abstract layer, composed of meshes with different patterns and dimensions...overlap to recreate a total space. The transparency of the cladding material unveils the underlying framework with Cartesian precision," the firm said in a press release.

Subsequently the resultant glow from the lights aims to de-humanize the space, "[dematerializing] all the surfaces, coloring the room, now reminiscent of a post-human scenario."

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OMA looks to break new ground with the Faena Car Park in Miami

Shohei Shigematsu, partner at OMA and the director of its New York office, had never designed a parking garage until Alan Faena requested one. The Argentine real estate developer and arts patron hired the New York branch of a firm based in Rotterdam, Netherlands, to design Faena Arts Center, a forthcoming arts and luxury retail complex in Miami Beach, which will open to the public in late October. Upon completion, the complex will be the anchor for the Faena Arts District—a sliver of land on Collins Avenue sandwiched between Indian Creek and the Atlantic Ocean—which Faena and his partner, Ximena Caminos, plan to turn into a hub for multidisciplinary cultural activity.

OMA is designing all three of the buildings slated to open in Miami Beach come fall: The Faena Forum, a two-volume space that imitates a superimposed cylinder and cube, will contain exhibition spaces and hotel and meeting facilities; the Faena Bazaar, a luxury retail complex located in the former Atlantic Beach Hotel, which was built in 1939 and that the firm is partially preserving; and the Faena Car Park, a mechanical valet parking garage with a perforated precast concrete facade, ground-level retail, and a rooftop pavilion with panoramic ocean views.

The car park proved to be an unexpected challenge, due in part to the building’s straightforward program. The firm has experimented with various facets of parking design since the early 1990s: a 1993 proposal for the second of two libraries at Jussieu, a university in Paris, features interior ramps typical of a self-park garage, and the firm incorporated parking facilities in its 2004 Souterrain Tram Tunnel project in The Hague. However, in each case, parking was only a relatively minor consideration in projects otherwise defined by their programmatic hybridity.

The Faena Car Park is OMA’s first freestanding car garage, and the sheer absence of complex activity that stood to transpire inside the building gave Shigematsu and his design team pause when they began working on the building in 2012. “We were crippled by not having enough context or content of program,” he reflected. As they scrambled for programmatic constraints from which to begin generating a scheme for the garage, they realized the project was in fact fertile ground to set aside their usual working methods. Instead of analyzing the program, they began by developing the facade in response to code regulations stipulating that half its area should be porous to facilitate ventilation.

Parking is, famously, a prime commodity in Miami. Indeed, both the forum, which will serve as the district’s locus for arts programming, and the car park are being built on the sites of former grade-level parking lots that flanked the Atlantic Beach Hotel. Upon its completion, OMA’s car park will become part of a constellation of architect-designed parking garages that are now architectural calling cards for the city. Among these, the best known is Herzog & de Meuron’s 1111 Lincoln Road, an open-air, multistory garage completed in 2010 that doubles as a mixed-use development with luxury retail, fine dining, and yoga facilities located next to parking spots. Frank Gehry completed a parking facility adjacent to his New World Center in 2011—the same year that Perkins+Will finished its Miami Beach City Hall Annex garage. Enrique Norten’s Mexico City–based firm, TEN Arquitectos, completed the Park@420 car garage in 2010, and until mid-April, when municipal commissioners rejected the late architect’s designs for a garage in Miami’s Collins Park neighborhood, Zaha Hadid was also slated to build a parking structure.

The typology’s newfound prominence is a welcome change from the previously prevalent reputation of parking garages as dull, even dangerous, structures that have little in the way of architectural merit. “Whether you like the idea of cars or not, the reality is that parking as a structure is the first and last experience that is made,” explained Rand Elliott, founder and principal of Oklahoma City firm Elliott + Associates, which has designed five lauded car garages and published extensive research on the design of car parks. Elliott noted that institutions often underestimate the influence of their parking, treating its architecture as an afterthought: “They just don’t think it through well enough to realize how valuable [parking] is.”

On Collins Avenue, OMA leads the vanguard in Miami parking design by working both above and below the city’s surface. Approximately three dozen of the 235 parking spaces at Faena Car Park will be located below grade, a feat given the high groundwater level in the surrounding neighborhood. “When they started excavating the underground parking, there was a gigantic pool,” recalled Shigematsu. By way of resolution, the firm filled the entire cavity with a concrete lining that hermetically sealed the underground lot from liquid.

Above ground, the structure initially appears to be simple in front elevation: OMA’s facade responds to the tropical climate by imitating the brise-soleil common in Brazilian architecture. Yet the southern elevation exposes the building’s interior mechanics—an elevator that moves vehicles into place—to create a kinetic facade with relatively few elements. For all its functionalism, this feature is just as well conceptual: “The idea,” said Shigematsu, “is making the elevator itself a celebration of this building.”

The car garage emerged as a new typology, derived but distinct from storage warehouses and former horse stables in the 1920s. In 1925, Russian architect Konstantin Melnikov designed two never-built, but prescient, car parks for Paris. One was, in effect, a bridge over the Seine, with ramped decks that spanned the river and a dynamic curvilinear structure; the second was to be built on land, a cube pierced by four winding ramps that ran through its volume.

Though Melnikov’s Paris garage schemes will probably forever remain unrealized, their expressive geometries and implicit recognition of car parks as platforms for viewing the surrounding city foreshadowed the work recently completed by prominent international architects in Miami. Nearly a century later, the designer car park is just as well a destination in its own right: not merely a promontory, but itself a definitive feature of the city’s architectural landscape.

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OMA to design expansion of Buffalo’s Albright-Knox Art Gallery

This is OMA week. After unveiling the refurbished Fondaco dei Tedeschi in Venice, the New York- and Rotterdam-based firm announced that they have received the commission to design an $80 million expansion to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, NY. This will be the firm's first art museum project in the United States: OMA beat out four other offices—Snøhetta, BIG, Allied Works, and wHY—for the job, dubbed AK360, which will expand exhibition space for Albright-Knox's modern and contemporary art collection. Firm principal Shohei Shigematsu will be leading the design team. The board of directors approved a development and expansion plan two years ago to accommodate a collection that's quadrupled in size since 1962, the year of the museum's last major (SOM–designed) expansion. Currently, Albright-Knox can only display 200 to 300 of the 8,000 works in its permanent collection. The expansion will double exhibition space, as well as add space for education facilities, dining, and events space while better integrating the museum with the Olmsted–designed park around it. The commission comes fresh off of the completion of the Pierre Lassonde Pavilion at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, another project that knits a city's landscape to a museum. It's fitting that OMA will be working in Buffalo, a city that capitalizes on its rich architectural heritage to spur tourism and investment. The museum, which is situated adjacent a local cultural district, hopes that the OMA project will have a spillover (uh, Guggenheim) effect on the ailing postindustrial city that's nevertheless experiencing a modest uptick in economic fortunes compared to neighboring cities. Shohei Shigematsu, along with artist Mark Bradford and Albright-Knox's director Janne Sirén, will give a talk at Art Basel next week on the role of art museums in social change. There's no date for construction as of yet, although the next phase of the "envisioning process" will begin this September.
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OMA unveils their refurbishment of the Fondaco dei Tedeschi in Venice

International practice OMA has completed a refurbishment of the Fondaco dei Tedeschi in Venice. Originally constructed in 1228, rebuilt in 1508 after a fire, then given a concrete structure in the 1930s, the Italian Renaissance-styled building is an emblem of Venetian Republic. Having served many purposes throughout its lifetime—used by German trade merchants, then as a customs house for Napoleon and a post office for Mussolini—the Fondaco dei Tedeschi was granted "Monument" status in 1987. In 2008, the building was purchased by Italian fashion brand Benetton, who commissioned Rem Koolhaas to transform the space with its primary use being for retail. However, conservationists from Italia Nostra objected dubbing the Palazzo's proposal as a "megastore." In 2012, during the midst of the debacle, Benetton's spokesman Federico Sartor said: "A city with just museums will die. There is lots of culture in Venice but you cannot find a sandwich." Four years later, Benetton and OMA's plans have been scaled back to incorporate an artistic element, thus maintaining Venice's cultural pedigree. Opening the courtyard piazza and rooftop to pedestrians facilitates views down into the building and, more impressively, over Venice along the city's canals.
The most drastic intervention comes in the form of the structure's circulation. Timber-clad escalators rise up through the volumes, punctuating the space with their dark red coloration, seemingly an amplified reference to the pink hues found in the worn bricks of the interior. In order to encourage circulation to the building, new entrances from the Campo San Bartolomeo and the Rialto have been created, while the existing entrances into the courtyard have been retained for the locals. OMA created a new rooftop through the renovation of the existing 19th Century pavilion at the top and the addition of a large wooden terrace, which now offers spectacular views over the city. Both the rooftop and the central courtyard below will remain open to the public. "The transformation of the Fondaco is based on a finite number of local interventions and vertical distribution devices that support the new program structure a sequence of public spaces and paths, from the central courtyard to a new roof terrace overlooking the Canal Grande," said OMA. "Each intervention is conceived as a brutal excavation through the existing mass, liberating new perspectives and unveiling the real substance of the building to its visitors," they continued. "With an almost forensic attitude, each new component serves as a way to show the stratification of materials and construction techniques." As for the retail space itself, Jamie Fobert Architects from London will lead the design. The renovated building is due to open in October this year.
 
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OMA’s Pierre Lassonde Pavilion in Quebec City edges closer to completion

The Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (MNBAQ)'s new Pierre Lassonde Pavilion, designed by International firm OMA working alongside with Provencher_Roy architectes of Montréal, is set to open in just over two months time. As work edges closer to completion, MNBAQ has announced that the building will open on June 24 of this year, coinciding with the Québec’s national holiday, “La Fête nationale.” As a result, there will be three days of free public programs and festivities. Once open, the pavilion will offer 160,380 square feet of space—an increase of 90 percent on the MNBAQ's current capacity for exhibition space. Here, both permanent and temporary exhibits will be hosted inside column-free galleries that make use of a hybrid steel truss system for structural support. Also included will be a 250-seat auditorium, café, and museum store, all encapsulated by three tiered cuboid volumes, the highest of which (at 87 feet) will overlook the street. Within the staggered volumetric space, a series of mezzanines will create a visual link between the exhibition spaces and aid spatial orientation through a spiral staircase that offers "orchestrated views." On top, roof terraces will provide space for outdoor displays and activities while the 41-foot-high Grand Hall will connect the building to the street, looking onto the sheltered Grande Allée. Also on the pavilion's exterior, a pop-out staircase symbolizes the visual connection of the cascading volumes from an external perspective, also giving users views on to the park. Pierre Lassonde, chair of the MNBAQ board of directors, said, “We are delighted to be only weeks away from welcoming the public into this brilliantly conceived design by OMA, which will do so much to help us celebrate the art and artists of Québec. With this beautifully functioning and symbolically important addition, our museum now rises to a new level of service for the people of Québec City, and a new prominence for visitors from around the world.” “Our design stacked three gallery volumes in a cascade that continues the topography of the park. The activity of the city extends below, providing a new point of interface between the city and the park,” said OMA partner Shohei Shigematsu. “Art becomes a catalyst that allows the visitor to experience all three core assets – park, city, and museum – at the same time.”
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OMA unveils ideas for transforming RFK stadium property to an urban playground for the nation’s Capital

RFK Memorial Stadium would be torn down to create an urban playground along the Anacostia Riverfront for residents of Washington, D.C. and beyond, under plans by the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) that were unveiled at a citywide meeting last night. OMA partner Jason Long and associate Laura Baird of OMA’s New York office outlined two design proposals—"The Stitch" and a "North-South axis"—for a 190-acre stretch of riverfront known as the RFK Stadium-Armory campus. Currently, it's covered mostly with the 55-year-old stadium, the armory, and surrounding parking lots. The Dutch firm OMA, founded in 1975 by Rem Koolhaas and Elia Zenghelis, was hired last year by Events DC to explore ideas for the RFK stadium property after consultants concluded that there is no economically feasible way to renovate the building for continued use as a sports facility. Events DC is the District’s sports and conventional authority. The 75-year old armory would remain. Ideas in both proposals included a 20,000-square-foot arena for the Washington Wizards and Capitals, to replace the Verizon Center in Chinatown, or a 65,000-seat stadium for Washington’s NFL team, which has hired the Bjarke Ingels Group as its lead designer but has not settled on a site. There was also an option for no stadium or arena at all but other sorts of sports-and recreational facilities. Other ideas included playing fields, a field house, a water park, an aquatic center, art pavilions, a science center, a new home for the National Aquarium, and a sports complex comparable to Chelsea Piers in Manhattan. Also, hiking and biking trails, community gardens, a floating pool, a picnic area, a skatepark, an ice rink, an ecology lab, and an exercise park. There were short term and long range ideas. Two manmade islands just off the shoreline, Kingman and Heritage islands, could be made more accessible by a series of pedestrian bridges. OMA’s Long said that since the property is owned by the National Park Service and leased on a long term basis to the District of Columbia, the design team explored recreational uses consistent with the Park Service’s mission. But Long said OMA also wanted to use the planning effort to introduce a wider range of recreational, cultural, and entertainment offerings. OMA wants to show the potential for creating a new gateway to the nation’s Capitol, including taking advantage of efforts to clean up the Anacostia River and providing more public access to the water’s edge. He noted that the RFK property is just about as long as New York’s High Line and just about as wide as Central Park, two of the most popular and heavily-used urban recreational areas in the country. However, it has essentially been devoted to a single use for decades. “We wanted to be much more diverse, in terms of programming,” he said. “This site has the scale to be an amazing place in which the city could connect to the riverfront.” The design team did not provide construction cost estimates. The cost of an NFL stadium or basketball arena alone, experts say, could approach $1 billion. The difference between OMA’s two design options was the way buildings were set along the waterfront and how open space was used to connect them with the waterfront and the rest of the city. One option, called “North-South axis,” would use the site’s sloping topography to conceal a linear “plinth” that spans the length of the site and provides underground parking. On top of this plinth would be a multi-structure sports complex, with a retail promenade at street level. The linear sports complex could contain either the arena, the stadium, or no large sports anchor at all. A series of stairs and ramps would draw visitors down to the waterfront, which would be transformed with parks, fields and possibly an “urban beach.” The existing road network would be restructured to accommodate traffic while providing multiple access points to the plinth so parking is evenly distributed along the site. The second option, called “The Stitch,” builds on the site’s existing “funnel-shaped” road network by adding two pedestrian boulevards and weaving circulation access routes through an urban campus. The plan “stitches” together elements of culture, sports and recreation into three zones.  To the north, amenities include a sports complex, aquatic center, and farmers’ market. The central zone lines up with the National Mall and features a “grand plaza” for outdoor events. To the south would be a marketplace and retail-lined parking structures. Again, this option could accommodate the arena, the NFL stadium or no large sports anchor. Long said the OMA team was aware that the Bjarke Ingels Group has been designing a football stadium, but the two design teams have not meet to discuss how BIG’s design might fit onto the RFK site. One of the features of the BIG design, unveiled last month, was a moat around the stadium that could be used for kayaking and other activities. The football team is considering sites in D. C., Maryland, and northern Virginia. Nearly 400 people came to the two hour presentation at the Washington Convention Center and expressed a variety of opinions. There seemed to be no clear preference for one option or another, or whether a football stadium should go on the site. Audience members asked questions about a number of issues. They wanted to know whether the plan could be modified to include housing; how traffic flow and access from the Metro could be improved; how to make the site more walkable, and whether a beach would make sense with Washington’s  mosquito-infested summers and cold winters. One man suggested moving the National Zoo to the site and selling the zoo property in Woodley Park to help pay for construction. Long said OMA designers will take the comments into consideration as they refine their plans and analyze costs in preparation for a follow-up community meeting in a few months. He said he was impressed by the turnout and the “high level of discussion” about the preliminary design concepts. “It’s good that people want to hear more,” he said.  “It’s great that they want to push it to the next stage.”