Late on Wednesday, Events DC presented revised design renderings for the new Entertainment and Sports Arena in DC’s Congress Heights. This project has been a joint venture of architectural firms: DC-based Marshall Moya Design and international sports design firm, ROSSETTI. The joint venture announced in the fall of 2015. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2017 with completion in the fall of 2018.
The commitment to professional sports teams is evident. The main function of the multipurpose 4,200 seat arena on St. Elizabeths East Campus is to serve as home court for the WNBA’s Washington Mystics. A separate state-of-the-art venue and training facility for the Washington Wizards is also in the works.
This project is also important for its pledge to improve the fabric of the neighborhood. This is considered to be an iterative project; the ongoing design will incorporate bottom-up community-centric elements, including innovative space planning and programming elements. “I couldn't be more excited about the response the community has to this project and the benefits to Congress Heights and all of Ward 8,” said Max Brown, chairman of the Board of Directors for Events DC. “Events DC remains committed to engaging the community and stakeholders as we progress through this interactive process for the Entertainment and Sports Arena,” said Gregory A. O’Dell, president and chief executive officer of Events DC.
The two design firms are dedicating significant resources to listen to the community and create a solution that works within the existing architectural structures. The updated design incorporates the existing urban fabric of St. Elizabeths’ historic red brick campus. “As a native Washingtonian, I am personally very proud to be part of a project that is both reverential and transformative. We are honored to partner with this community to bring a design aesthetic that respects the history of the St. Elizabeths Campus, and we want our project to express the aspirations, pride and hope of Congress Heights,” said Michael Marshall, Design Director, Marshall Moya Design.
“We have spent a good portion of the last six weeks listening to and meeting with the key constitutes from the community groups, government agencies and have taken much of their input and incorporated it into what we believe will be a tremendous building,” said Jerry Attia, Principal at ROSSETTI.
Through proposed selection of beautiful and sustainable materials the physicality of the building will be compatible with the existing St Elizabeths campus while also identifying the Arena as a contemporary new urban landmark. The main exterior cladding material of large scale brick-toned metal panels communicate a strong connection to the existing St. Elizabeths historic red brick structures in a very interesting and unique way.
The design also showcases more community-friendly elements, including exciting new food vendors located along Oak Drive, which will provide the community with a range of grab & go and fast casual dining options. The cafe space will be accessible to the public realm, so that the community can enjoy retail options even when the Arena is not actively hosting events.
What do you think? Excited yet?