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2012 Award of Merit - Rio 2016 Olympic Park Masterplan
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Project CategoryConceptual

Project Name:  Rio 2016 Olympic Park Masterplan

Project Location:  Rio de Janeiro, Brasil

Date of Completion:  Competition Entry - July 2011

Landscape Architect:  Morris Architects | MorrisTerra -

Todd M. McCurdy, FASLA


Green Games Blue Planet | The 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro is the City’s opportunity to showcase its famous Carioca spirit while the World watches the Games of the XXXI Olympiad. Rio de Janeiro’s many unique social and architectural charms make it one of the most distinctive places in the hemisphere.  The design of the Olympic Park utilizes these qualities through the use of line, form, color, material, bold landscape and architectural character.

This Olympic Park Masterplan embraces a truly "Rio” solution which reflects the rich cultural heritage and the free-flowing spirit of the people of Rio. The vision of a Carioca youth running on the beach became the Team’s inspiration for a metaphor of a young boy’s aspirations of one day becoming an Olympian.

Olympic Masterplan | The Masterplan takes inspiration from the culture of Rio and presents a bold, functional, well-designed solution that reflects the culture and heritage of the host country.  The Olympic Plaza stands as the jewel in the middle of the master plan and is the memorable outdoor pedestrian space that the main gathering node for the Olympic Park.

Specialty fountains activate the space while Bosques of trees add punctuated areas of shade relief and accent view corridors to the various venues allowing unhindered spectator movement below. All sports and entertainment venues can be accessed from the Olympic Plaza space. Sinuously curved pavement patterns are the dominant design form at the ground plane alternating with large park like landscape areas that define the clean, simple horizontal plane.

Logistics | The requirements for securely moving the worlds greatest athletes, judges and referees, media, sponsors, patrons, VIPS and 150,000 spectators are monumental. The space required for them, and the temporary nature of some of the venues provides additional challenges. The Olympic Masterplan has special facilities and secure circulation ways for athletes, judges and referees, media and VIPS separated from the general spectators.

The scale of the spectator spaces required for150,000 spectators all at one time moving in and out of multiple venues and event spaces day and night is extraordinary. Great care was taken in the design process to provide appropriate free movement space in key areas, while creating some sense of smaller scale in other areas where appropriate, as well as access to the waterfront providing "a toe in the sand” for the Carioca youth running on the beach.

Olympic Transition | This master plan concept has incorporated not only sustainable design practices for the Games, but has also taken into consideration the continuation of the development of the property beyond the Games as a legacy of sustainability. The Transition Plan will commence with the conclusion of the XXXI Olympiad and Paralympic Games where temporary venues and facilities will be removed, and the remaining venues will be become the new National Olympic Training Center.

The Olympic Plaza and Waterfront will become public space where outdoor activities will be programmed to activate the space. Materials used in the temporary venues from the Olympic Games will be collected, saved, reused, or recycled.  During the transition period, the maturing of the landscape and the marketing of the Olympic Training Center as a node for athletic excellence will begin to build the foundation for a highly successful future Legacy Development Plan.

Olympic Legacy Plan | The Legacy Plan is scheduled to commence in 2018, where a new walkable mixed use village will be constructed within the available parcels of land vacated in the transition phase. These new neighborhoods follow a more traditional urbanist form reminiscent of the old Barra area of Rio. The character and style of the new neighborhoods will take on a more comfortable personal scale than much of the recent development in Rio.

The master plan embraces the festive Carioca spirit while following sustainable design practices that will yield a more compact, higher density, vibrant, urban solution for the new Legacy neighborhood. The Legacy Plan encourages walking, cycling, canoeing, running, skating, social activities and a mixture of modern urban uses that support daily life for residents and workers.

Responsibilities | As the design lead, the Landscape Architect brought together a highly skilled team of designers, architects, fountain designers and engineers from around the globe. The overall vision of the Olympic Park Masterplan was the responsibility of the Landscape Architect and included planning and relationships of all spaces, circulation flow, and venue massing. Throughout the process, the Landscape Architect led the team in creating an energetic and memorable Games environment that addressed the technical and spatial relationships necessary to accommodate over 150,000 people per day without losing sight of the spirit of the Olympic Games or its Carioca soul.


Principal / Lead ArchitectJim Pope, AIA  - Morris Architects

Landscape Architect / Project Manager:  Kenn Bates, ASLA, PLA - MorrisTerra

Landscape Designer :  Daniel Kastelic  - MorrisTerra 

Landscape Designer

MORRIS ARCHITECTS – Orlando, USA / Master Planning

HENRIQUE MINDLIN ARQUITETOS – Rio de Janeiro, Brasil / Leading Architects

STUDIO ZOPPINI ASSOCIATI – Milan, Italy / Sports Architects


SEICOR PROJETOS E OBRAS LTDA – Rio de Janeiro, Brasil / Infrastructure

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