Two days ago, D.C. United officially submitted the information needed (specifically, the Planned Unit Development) by the District of Columbia Zoning Commission, which includes the most detailed plans to date for the stadium and stadium site at Buzzard Point. Let's take a brief tour through these documents, to which I've linked at the end so you can find everything that I didn't.
But first, some high levels thoughts. The biggest thing that stuck out to me was how much the constraints of this particular site played into the design of the stadium. The Pepco facilities played a defining role because of the easement they have, and they can't build out the west seating bowl to the same depth as the other seating areas. We knew that the site would affect the stadium, but I did not know to what extent that would go.
Overall, the details and the dozens of renderings included in these documents make me like the stadium even more. We can now see the whole plan for the stadium, rather than just pictures from which we have to try to extrapolate meaning. So, without further ado, the details:
- There is a second, local architect working on the project in addition to Populous: Marshall Moya Design. Their soccer related experience includes participating in the design competition for the Rio World Cup Pavilion.
- Pepco has an easement that runs through the property, and it causes more problems that originally thought: "The terms of the easement require that Pepco have access to it at all times, so no part of the Stadium, up to a height of 18 feet, may be constructed on or above the easement." This means that stadium was designed to have seating above that 18 feet.
- That also means that the design of the building was heavily influenced by the Pepco facilities. "The easement that runs along the east side of the Property has heavily influenced the design of the Stadium. None of the structure under the seating bowl may be within the easement area. However, because of this easement condition, the Stadium has been "shifted" to the west as far as possible so that more of the seating on the east side can rise above the easement area without having to drastically increase the height of the seating as it moves further away from the field. This creates the somewhat lopsided appearance of the Stadium with the greater height and amount of seating concentrated on the east side."
- The seating for the stadium is still in flux, with various numbers thrown out throughout the documents. Approximately 19,000 and approximately 20,000 are the most commonly used numbers.
- As we saw in the renderings, "The Stadium will consist of a seating bowl with two canopies surrounding an uncovered field." There will be three tiers of seating on the east side of the stadium, with suites located above the first level of seating. The north side will have a mix of seats and indoor suites, and the northeast corner will be almost all suites. The west side of the stadium will be almost all outdoor seats, but the depth of that bowl is less than the others because of the shifted stadium caused by the Pepco easement. Finally, the south side is mostly outdoor seating. See Part 3 for a stark visual of how the easement played into the design of the stadium, and parts 5 and 6 for detailed maps of the stadium.
- You will be able to see directly into the stadium and see the field of play from Potomac Avenue. "The main entrance to the Stadium will be at the northeast corner of the site. Because most spectators likely will walk along Potomac Avenue from the east, this entrance will be the largest with 18 gates, and it will be the most visually prominent down the Potomac Avenue view shed. In fact, the view from Potomac Avenue will be directly into the Stadium and the field since no structure will be in this line of site and the field will be near ground level. The ability to see onto the field from outside the Stadium will be one of its most unique and street-activating features virtually unknown in other professional sports stadia."
- Many of you noticed the prominent escalator feature; it is described thusly: "A structure containing stairs and escalators will form a prominent corner for the Stadium as viewed down Potomac Avenue. The structure will be open to the outside and the plaza on its eastern side. A large platform at its first level, raised above the ground level, will provide a gathering space for spectators to look out upon the plaza and for performances to have a stage to which to perform toward the plaza. The sides of the structure will be covered in porous metal screens that will have varying levels of opacity that will change depending on the daytime to create an interesting visual experience."
- The design is meant to honor the industrial past of Buzzard Point: "The architectural style of the new D.C. United soccer stadium, referred to as contemporary-industrial, is borne out of its site context and the aspirations of becoming a transformational addition to the neighborhood. The design team wanted the new Stadium to establish itself as a beacon for a new design aesthetic, while at the same time grounding itself in the industrial past of Buzzard Point. In order to establish this, the design team chose to use the steel support structure as a defining signature element. Not only does the steel structure define the building as a sports-specific building it also is a nod to the industrial heritage of the Buzzard Point neighborhood."
- The team expects most fans to arrive through public transportation, and the site itself will not have any parking. However, they have secured approximately 3400 parking spots in nearby areas. The stadium is .57 mile from the Waterfront Metro station and .6 mile from the Navy Yard Metro station. See part 4 for details of where their parking will be (including some Nationals lots), but the Metro stations are closer than much of it.
- The Stadium will be designed to satisfy LEED Gold standards.
There are also a lot more renderings of every aspect of the stadium in parts 7, 8, and 9, so give them a look. What do you think of these details?