Gone are the days of new single-use stadium campuses. Dutch design firm OMA just unveiled two proposals to transform Washington D.C.’s Robert F. Kennedy (RFK) Stadium-Armory Campus into a multifunctional sports mall with a possible 300% increase in green space. Located in southeast D.C. along the Anacostia River, the 190-acre redevelopment project has ambitious hopes of becoming the next hot waterfront destination to rival the likes of Manhattan’s Chelsea Piers. Most importantly, the redesign would reconnect the waterfront to the city, a connection that has largely been lost in the area due the stadium’s unwelcoming and asphalt-heavy site design.
Events DC, the official sports authority and convention of the city, revealed two OMA proposals—the “North-South Axis” and “Stitch”—this week at a community meeting that drew a crowd of around 400 people. Each proposal explores three anchor tenant scenarios: one with a 20,000-seat arena; another with an NFL stadium; and the last without an anchor tenant at all. A major catalyst for the redevelopment of the site stems from knowledge that DC United, the current tenant of the RFK Stadium, will leave in two years.
Events DC’s lease with the National Park Service stipulates that the site may only be used for stadium purposes such as sports areas, recreational facilities, and related retail use. As a result, both of OMA’s proposals focus heavily on sports with diverse recreational programming. Though the site cannot be developed into housing, the designers hope to revitalize the campus identity by injecting the space with attractive community spaces and abundant green space, from the green roofs to the riverside park promenade. Programming possibilities include, but aren’t limited to a large farmer’s market, urban beach, floating pool, and a bandshell. While there is a possibility that the Washington Redskins could return to their former home at RFK, there are no known plans of that happening.
“The masterplans we’ve unveiled present a once in a lifetime opportunity to reimagine the 190-acre site in a holistic approach that delivers an amenity for everyone,” says a statement on the Events DC website. “It also has the ability to create another vibrant destination within Washington, DC for residents and visitors to live, play and visit. Both designs aim to provide accessibility across the Campus’s unique topography and access to nearby waterways, while creating dynamic open space for everyone to enjoy and benefit.”
Images via RFK Campus Future