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PR- 054-04
March 10, 2004


Two-Week Design Exhibit at Vanderbilt Hall, Grand Central Terminal

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, and NYC2012, the committee leading New York’s bid for the Olympic Games in 2012, today made public the five finalist designs for the proposed Olympic Village.  The proposed site of the Olympic Village is Queens West on the East River across from the United Nations.  The Village would house 16,000 athletes and members of the Olympic Family in the center of New York’s Olympic X plan.  After the Olympics, the development would provide world-class residential housing for up to 18,000 New Yorkers.  The winning design will be the basis of NYC2012’s Olympic Village proposal in the Candidature File to be submitted to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on November 15, 2004.  Today’s event included presentations by each of the five architects and launched a two-week exhibit, at Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Terminal, and public review period, which is part of the selection process before a winning design is announced in May. 

The five finalists were picked from more than 130 entries from all over the world, and they are: Henning Larsens Tegnestue A/S – HLT (Copenhagen, Denmark), MVRDV (Rotterdam, The Netherlands), Morphosis (Santa Monica, CA, USA), Smith-Miller + Hawkinson Architects (New York, NY, USA) and Zaha Hadid Architects (London, United Kingdom). 

“The 2012 Olympics Games would have an unprecedented and enduring impact on New York City, and the benefits would be felt in all five boroughs,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “The Olympic Games would create 125,000 jobs, and pump $11 billion into our economy. It would spur the largest investment in parks and recreation facilities in the City’s history - all privately paid for. And it would give us the once in a lifetime opportunity to transform what is now a largely abandoned and blighted stretch of the East River waterfront in Queens into a stunning new residential community.  Designing the Olympic Village is a breathtaking project, and should we be lucky enough to be chosen to host the Games, Queens will provide a spectacular home away from home for the world’s greatest athletes.  I thank the five finalists for their stunning effort, and NYC2012 and Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff for their hard work towards making our Olympic dreams a reality.”
“These five designs represent the best of an international search to create the best possible Olympic Village for athletes and housing for New Yorkers when the Olympians go home,” said Queens Borough President Helen Marshall.  “I urge the public to express their comments and ideas on these designs that give us a working knowledge of what the Olympic Village will look like when it rises on one of the prime real estate sites in Queens and the City of New York.”

Charles A. Gargano, Chairman of Empire State Development and Vice Chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said, “These designs are an exciting indicator of the tremendous benefits that the 2012 Olympic Games would bring to the Borough of Queens and New York City. On behalf of the Port Authority and Empire State Development, I’d like to congratulate the five finalists for their outstanding work.”

“These spectacular designs put the athletes at the center of a New York Games and uphold the true spirit of the Olympic Movement while forming the model for future urban housing,” said Daniel L. Doctoroff, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding and Founder of NYC2012. “With the exhibit and public review period, the people of New York will continue their opportunity to share in the Olympic dream and preview the city’s future, as well.” 

First announced in September 2003, Phase One of the Design Study began with the issuance for a Request for Qualifications (RFQ), which was open to all designers and architects, regardless of nationality.  An 8-member Design Review Panel, which evaluated all entries in terms of qualifications and design concepts, included experts in architecture, urban design, landscape architecture, environmental planning, and housing, as well as an Olympian: Gary Hack, Dean, University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Fine Arts; Con Howe, Planning Director, City of Los Angeles; Ronay Menschel, Chairperson, Phipps Houses; Laurie D. Olin, Landscape Architect; Will Rogers, President, Trust for Public Land; Moshe Safdie, Architect; Dejan Sudjic, Architecture Critic; and Cristina Teuscher, Olympian (Swimming, 1996: Gold, 2000: Bronze).

The five finalists participated in a 14-week planning and design study, overseen by Alexander Garvin, NYC2012’s Director of Planning.  The current evaluation and public review comment period is an integral part of the final round of the process.  The public is urged to comment on the designs online ( beginning on March 10th, while concurrently, NYC2012 staff assesses the viability of the plans.  The winner will be announced in May 2004.  The host city for the 2012 Olympic Games will be selected by the IOC on July 6, 2005 in Singapore. 

Queens West is a joint project of New York State, New York City and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, overseen by the Queens West Development Corporation (, a subsidiary of the Empire State Development Corporation.  For over a decade, the City has worked with QWDC to revitalize a 73-acre site along the Long Island City/Hunter’s Point waterfront, develop new housing, and create publicly accessible waterfront open space.  The QWDC has spearheaded the Citilights and Avalon West buildings and has secured a commitment from the Rockrose Corporation to develop seven residential buildings containing approximately 3,200 residential units.  Should the New York City be awarded the 2012 Olympic Games, the Olympic Village would occupy the southern portion of Queens West and complete the planned redevelopment of the area.

The Architects On The Designs:

Henning Larsens Tegnestue A/S - HLT(Copenhagen, Denmark)
Architect Louis Becker said “The entire Hunters Point has been developed to create a unique framework for a sustainable urban Olympic Village with a strong identity.  The Village consists of five quarters – all linked like the five Olympic rings.  The center quarter is laid out around an Olympic Square on the waterfront facing Manhattan. Athletes will perceive the five quarters and their varying typology like the cultural and typological differences of world continents. Water constitutes a major feature – the use of it varying from leisure to security. The outline of the plan secures maximum privacy for athletes along with maximum space, air and views for all.”

Morphosis (Santa Monica, California, USA)
Principal architect Thom Mayne said “Informed by a commitment to sustainability, connectivity and interdependence, our design for the Olympic Village symbolically reflects the Olympic Movement's universal ideals of peace, tolerance and humanitarianism through an innovative vision for a revitalized ‘new territory’ that will leave an important legacy, or gift, to the city.  With 43 acres of open space reserved for both urban and natural parkland, this development's greens will rank as the largest urban waterfront park in the five boroughs.  Working carefully and deliberately to sculpt land, building forms into a coherent relationship with the existing urban fabric, and the naturally advantageous site conditions, allow us to create an iconic landmark and vibrant new neighborhood which will function as an important stimulus for creative and optimistic development of the adjacent urban areas. “
MVRDV (Rotterdam, The Netherlands)
Architect Winy Maas said “By creating a large urban public beach on the East River the Olympic Village becomes dramatically intense and visible.  The village employs a mini-grid to condense the program to a point that triggers a New York City-style urbanity, otherwise diluted on the site.  The skyline beach opens the site as a NYC attraction: views plus unimpeded space.  Emphasis on urban public life is further invigorated with weaving towers, slender to the top and tilted to reveal more views in and from the Village.  Sometimes they even kiss, improving security and allowing sports facilities higher up.  These urban moves generate a three-dimensional neighborhood, reflecting the Olympic spirit and challenging the current Manhattan tower typology.”

Smith-Miller + Hawkinson Architects (New York, NY, USA)
New Park: the Green Machine
Principal architect Laurie Hawkinson said “Tomorrow’s New York will be shaped by a new attitude towards its natural and constructed landscapes.  Our design for a sustainable Olympic Village will be the first large-scale project in this fundamental shift and is based on six simple ideas: First, the production of a new park - the Olympic Green; second, an Olympic ring around the Village for public access to a waterfront park; third, five slender river towers where athletes and residents live with panoramic views; fourth new super-blocks with courtyards for Olympic events, athletes’ recreation and year-round use by residents; fifth, a new transit hub where the Long Island Railroad meets the river taxi terminal; and sixth buildings and landscape linked together forming a regenerative system exceeding existing standards for sustainability and energy utilization”

Zaha Hadid Architects (London, United Kingdom)
Zaha Hadid said “Our Olympic Village master plan opens Hunters Point to a rapidly changing future between Newtown Creek and the East River. Here, a constellation of towers dramatically presents an Olympic icon to Queens, Brooklyn, and across to Manhattan, while ensuring that both today’s and tomorrow’s local residents enjoy the spectacular views of Midtown and Lower Manhattan that only an open Hunters Point can offer. These features establish enduring principles in a plan, which offers flexibility through the design process, with the strength of the towers balancing an openness to changing patterns of activity on an expansive horizontal plane. The differentiated waterfronts give rise to a new local scale drawn across the village through a sequence of more intimate pockets cut into the ground form, giving rhythm and texture to the public ground.”


Edward Skyler / Jennifer Falk   (212) 788-2958

Laz Benitez   (NYC2012)
(646) 587-5426

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