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The current issue of Metal Architecture highlights the newly-opened Entertainment and Sports Arena in Washington, DC in a feature article by senior editor Mark Robins.
The article highlights the vision of the architects (a joint venture of Washington, D.C.-based Michael Marshall Design Inc. and Detroit-based ROSSETTI), who knew they wanted to blend the new arena into the historic neighborhood.
The arena sits on approximately 3.8 acres within the historic St. Elizabeth’s East campus. Events DC manages the arena and leases the training facility portion of the building to Monumental Sports and Entertainment, owners of the NBA’s Washington Wizards, the WNBA’s Washington Mystics and the reigning 2018 NHL Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals. ESA is the first building to incorporate a shared training facility for an NBA team, in addition to a home arena for a WNBA team, the Mystics as well as the Washington Go-Go an NBA Development G-League team associated with the Washington Wizards. The arena portion of the building will serve as an entertainment venue owned and operated by Events DC. The facility will be used as a venue for sports, concerts, third party arts and cultural events, and community based events. The objective for this project was to develop a facility that may serve as a catalyst for the St. Elizabeth’s campus—to attract spectators, fans and businesses onto the historic campus and expand community amenities and engagement.
Michael Marshall Design’s metal panel exterior design solution was installed by Kalkrueth, with panels oriented horizontally with color, layout, and shadow reveals to relate directly to the existing brick buildings of the historic St. Elizabeths Campus East, providing contextual reference in a contemporary way. Conceptually the exterior metal panel design of the arena employs a similar approach as that utilized in sports team uniform design, with the more visually intense front and back planes which connect to the surrounding brick structures joined/separated by more straightforward and subdued side panels (limestone color panels). On the signature arena facades of the North and South elevations, terra-cotta toned panels vary in height, alignment and color.
Design, engineering, cost analysis and fabrication were tightly integrated into the metal product manufacturing process. The Michael Marshall Design team and owner’s representatives visited the Kingspan fabrication plant in Toronto to examine finishes and colors. Throughout the construction documents phase Michael Marshall Design staff met with detailers from Kalkrueth and Kingspan to refine critical exterior details.
Overall, MMD Senior Architect Don Keppler believes the arena shows that, “Even when building in historically significant areas, contemporary structures can succeed if intelligent planning is combined with artistic vision, and executed by seasoned professionals all sharing the common goal of excellence.”