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PR- 129-04
May 26, 2004


New Olympic Village Design Focuses On Athletes' Needs & Experience

  Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Governor George E. Pataki, Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, Olympian Donna de Varona and NYC2012 today announced the architectural firm Morphosis as the winner of NYC2012's Olympic Village Design Study.  The proposed site of the Olympic Village is Queens West, located across the East River from the United Nations. With the goal of enhancing the athlete-experience in mind, the winning design incorporates all Olympic Village criteria outlined by the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) guidelines.

"Just last week, the International Olympic Committee named New York one of the five finalist cities to host the 2012 Olympic Games, and today it is my honor to announce the winning  Olympic Village design," said Mayor Bloomberg. "This Olympic Village would be a spectacular 'home away from home' for the world's greatest athletes, and be part of the unprecedented and enduring impact that the 2012 Games would have on our City. Its construction would both ensure a great Olympic Games and continue to pay dividends to New Yorkers long after." 

"The Morphosis design will not only create a spectacular Olympic Village, but will leave a great legacy for Queens," said Governor Pataki. "This plan thoughtfully considers the needs of Olympic athletes by including convenient access and first rate facilities, and no doubt will contribute to a great Olympic experience in New York. This is also an important step forward in our plans to make the most of New York City's waterfront through exciting new development and recreation projects."

"The architects have given us a breakthrough concept on a remarkable site that will make a first-class Olympic Village for the world's athletes and create one of the most beautiful and natural waterfront neighborhoods within Queens and the City for the 18,000 New Yorkers who will live there afterwards," said Queens Borough President Marshall.

"Having competed in two Olympic Games, I am thrilled by NYC2012's proposed Olympic Village for the 2012 Games," said Donna de Varona (Swimming: 1960, 1964, 2 Gold). "These great apartments with fantastic amenities, and all the other training and recreational facilities, will meet all of an athlete's needs before and after the competitions."

"The Morphosis design is precisely what we were looking to achieve in terms of the athlete experience," said Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding Daniel L. Doctoroff. "This brilliant plan moves the majority of apartments into low-rise buildings, and it integrates a full array of training facilities inside the Village. It ensures ease of access to transportation hubs for the dedicated athlete trains and ferries and it opens up the site to an inviting waterfront park that will enhance the quality of the living experience for all Olympians and Paralympians. The entertainment and recreational opportunities in the International Zone will offer athletes the variety and excitement that all visitors expect in New York City, and the cultural program for the athletes will be spectacular."

The winning design features a long, sinuous ribbon of primarily low-rise buildings that skirt the waterfront and have beautiful views of the Manhattan skyline, dramatically reducing the number of high-rise residences outlined in the original Village concept from 10 to 4. By minimizing building footprints, the design allows the compact 48-acre site to be transformed into a broad park, creating 43 acres of new parkland for a natural ambience and access to the riverbanks surrounding the Village site on three sides. Each of the 16,000 athletes, coaches and team officials living in the Village in 2012 will have an average of 314.3 square feet of space, a high standard for any Games, compared to the IOC minimum of 130 square feet.

The park-like setting allows for the integration of training sites within the Village, fully consistent with key IOC criteria. The Morphosis design includes a full array of athlete training facilities, including several multi-sport fields, a full size Olympic track around a football pitch, tennis courts, and various smaller fields ideal for personalized workouts.

The design creates a high level of convenience for the athletes. Ease of transportation and access to departure and arrival points is a major factor in the quality of the athlete experience. By locating most of the structures along the water close to the western edge of the site, the Morphosis design places the two transportation hubs - for dedicated Olympic trains or ferries - within a five-minute walk or two-minute shuttle ride from the farthest athlete apartment, yielding a site that is very compact when compared with past Olympic Villages.

To ensure that the winning design provides the best athlete experience, NYC2012, the committee leading the City's bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games, created an Advisory Committee comprised of Olympians and Paralympians, and Olympic and Paralympic Games operations experts, to review the finalist plans.  The Committee made recommendations for various aspects of the Village such as number and location of dining facilities, location of the International Zone, training facilities specifics, waterfront access, and proximity of National Olympic Committee (NOC) offices to the delegations, storage rooms, and common social spaces for athletes from different countries.  

Following the Games, the complex, consisting of 4,500 units, will be converted into residential housing for 18,000 New Yorkers.  A Community Advisory Committee, created by NYC2012, issued recommendations and provided the finalists with a community "wish list" for post-Olympic use.  The Community Advisory Committee included local residents and business people, representatives of elected officials and government agencies, and members of the local community board.

The Design Study, led by NYC2012's Director of Planning, Design and Development Alexander Garvin, began in September 2003 with the issuance of a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) intended to attract a wide range of designers and thinkers involved with urban housing. An eight-member Design Review Panel evaluated more than 130 entries from 20 countries. Five finalists were selected to participate in a 14-week planning and design study that began in mid-December 2003 and concluded in March 2004 in a public exhibition in Grand Central Terminal's Vanderbilt Hall.

Morphosis, founded in 1972, is a 36-person architecture and design firm directed by Thom Mayne. It recently won an international competition to design Cooper Union's newest 9-story academic building in New York City. It also won commissions for the CALTRANS District 7 Headquarters and a new Children's Museum, both in downtown Los Angeles. Morphosis has received 25 Progressive Architecture Awards, 52 AIA Awards and numerous other design recognitions.

Queens West is a joint project of the State, City and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, overseen by the Queens West Development Corporation.  The full Queens West project, in an area also called Hunter's Point, is 73 acres. The proposed Olympic Village site primarily occupies the southern portion of Queens West. The development of Queens West will proceed regardless of whether or not New York City is awarded the 2012 Olympic Games.

The Santa Monica, California-based, architectural firm Morphosis was selected from among five finalists that included Henning Larsens Tegnestue A/S (Copenhagen, Denmark), MVRDV (Rotterdam, The Netherlands), Smith-Miller + Hawkinson Architects (New York, NY) and 2004 Pritzker Prize winner Zaha Hadid Architects (London, United Kingdom). 


Edward Skyler / Jennifer Falk   (212) 788-2958

Iva Benson / Laz Benitez (NYC2012)   (646) 587-5490 / 5426

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