DC Armory Repositioing
DC Armory Repositioning
Martinez+Johnson Architecture assisted Braisford & Dunlavey (B&D) with a “repositioning” study of Washington DC’s Armory complex. Located within close proximity of a number of important active entertainment destinations, the owner (Washington Convention and Sports Authority) commissioned this study so that they might ultimately transform this under-used facility into a center capable of capitalizing upon DC’s changing demographics, excellent public transportation systems, and conduit for travelling entertainment product and events.
B&D thoroughly evaluated the market from a variety of viewpoints and projected the viability of different uses and management strategies. With input from Arts City Enterprises (ACE), a national operator of performance facilities, M+J explored how the physical parameters of the building and its presentation area might be transformed. The greatest attribute as well as the greatest challenge of the DC Armory is its size, both in floor area and volume. The building envelope is largely defined by one central room, the drill floor (the hall), over 80 feet high at its center and measuring 80,000 SF with a deck area of over 70,000 SF.
The space was ultimately shown to be large enough to be conducive to a wide variety of events with open space around the building to facilitate loading, receiving, and other building operations. Various space utilization schemes were tested, ranging from basketball, tennis camps and indoor football, to trade shows and concerts. The National Guard will continue to have a presence here. At the end of the study, WCSA was presented with scaled drawings showing how the hall can play host to any number of these events. An improved seating study was conducted, as well as recommendations on how to improve the exterior of the building as a way of better attracting and accommodating patrons. The design study addressed the challenges of revitalizing the armory, including connecting it to vibrant downtown Washington DC (and its retail, office, and hotel core), enriching the immediate public experience both inside and outside the facility, and dealing with the large scale of the drill floor. Other building concerns were either operational (loading and receiving, scheduling multiple users, etc) or about infrastructure (heating and cooling, performance systems, multiple configuration seating).