Title page for ETD etd-05152012-221709

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Richardson, Kevin Michael
URN etd-05152012-221709
Title Washington D.C. | Olympic Metamorphosis
Degree Master of Architecture
Department Architecture
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Gartner, Howard Scott Committee Chair
Green, William R. Committee Member
Rott, Hans Christian Committee Member
  • Olympics
  • Washington D.C.
  • Stadium
  • Urban Planning
Date of Defense 2012-05-02
Availability unrestricted
This thesis began by studying how a temporary event could create permanent architecture and how that architecture could change an urban lifestyle. I chose the Olympics as the event and proposed that they be held in Washington D.C., a city of international prominence with a rich design history but a city that hasn't had a large scale urban redevelopment plan in over a century.

I focused on the city east of the Capitol as I wanted to extend the monumental core created in the McMillan plan. I researched baroque design, Olympic planning, and even the original L'Enfant plan. The result of this research was unearthing some of the original L'Enfant design elements and incorporating them into a 21st century city by blending new design issues with the idea of a city designed around radial vistas with magnificent termini.

I focused on two sites, the Olympic Torch and the Olympic Stadium. The Torch is situated as a terminus on a site that was intended to be mile marker zero for the country. Its design and importance make it a monument while still not impeding the views. The stadium was created to serve as a stadium for the people, allowing pedestrians outside to view and interact with the event inside. It is sunken so as not to obstruct views but it is spanned by arches that pierce the cityscape signifying its monumentality and appropriately ending the monumental axis started with the Lincoln Memorial on the western edge of the city.

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