OLIN, Balmori Designs Top 11th Street Bridge Park Poll

by UrbanTurf Staff

Last Thursday, the renderings and descriptions were released of the final four designs for the highly-anticipated 11th Street Bridge Park.

Plans have been in the works for over a year to turn three concrete piers into one elevated park connecting Anacostia and Navy Yard. The goal of the project is to create a connecting design with an appeal similar to that of the Providence River Bridge park in Rhode Island, although many compare it to the more well-known High Line in New York City.

We polled our audience on their favorites and got a huge response. (The full set of designs can be viewed here.) So, which design do UrbanTurf readers like the best?

The designs from OLIN/OMA/Arup and Balmori Associates/Cooper, Robertson & Partners/Guy Nordenson Associates ran neck and neck as the top two most popular among those polled, with the OLIN design narrowing edging out the Balmori design. The full poll results are above.

The third most popular option was Anacostia Landing from the team of Wallace Roberts & Todd (WRT) /NEXT Architects/Magnusson Klemencic Associates, and rounding out the four designs was the proposal from Stoss Landscape Urbanism/Howeler + Yoon Architecture/Robert Silman Associates.

The city will be choosing their own favorite in October. If you weren’t able to participate in the UrbanTurf poll, you can still weigh in at the following locations for the next few weeks:

From September 14 – October 11, 2014 at THEARC Gallery – 1901 Mississippi Ave. SE, Washington, DC

From September 24 – October 11, 2014 at: Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum – 1901 Fort Place SE, Washington, DC and District Architecture Center – 421 7th Street NW, Washington, DC

See other articles related to: 11th street bridge park

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/olin_balmori_designs_lead_11th_street_bridge_park_poll/8977


  1. Bill Panici said at 7:36 pm on Wednesday September 17, 2014:
    I find it a bit disingenuous to the prevailing designers re: 11th Street Bridge as the views are totally different. No way to tell how the Balmori design looks from above as we see it only from the side and at a distance. Identical shots would seem fair to me, but I trust that is how the designs were sent to you. I do like the tent like framework in the Balmori plan. My two cents worth.
  1. skidrowedc@gmail.com said at 8:56 pm on Wednesday September 17, 2014:
    As per my comments on the previous post, I’m a big fan of the Balmori scheme. The zigzag image of its “thread” is absolutely compelling in a way that no programming effort can match, and in a way that would help attract participants to programming. It also gives something to folks who don’t use the bridge-park: It will be the scene-stealer for folks in Anacostia Park and Yards Park, and even for people on Potomac River cruises and airline passengers coming in and out of DCA. The virtues of the OMA/Olin scheme, by contrast, are almost entirely localized to the bridge-park users: from a distance it doesn’t look like much. Moreover, in my opinion, up close it looks like too much, a hyperactive, random agglomeration of landscape architectural gymnastics. It will be a challenge to get money for this, regardless of the design selected, but it will be much harder to get a much larger amount of money. Square footage of new bridge deck will be a critical consideration for the cost. Urban Turf’s winners are at either end: Of the 4 competitors, OMA/Olin has the most deck space, by far; whereas Balmori has the least. (This is a “guesstimate” based on I’ve seen other sites that show multiple renderings and plans.) In this case, I believe that less deck space is generally preferable regardless of the budget issue. This “bridge park” will be long and isolated. It will be challenging to attract a critical mass of users, and the more deck space, the greater the quantity of users needed to achieve critical mass. As with any event venue, a full house in a smaller space is better than a half-empty larger space. It can be either a vicious cycle (insufficient users leads to a sense of insecurity and unpopularity, which reduces the number of users and programs further until all that’s left are the homeless, skateboarders, and graffiti artists) or a virtuous circle (critical mass lends buzz and attracts more users, which creates more buzz, which supports more programming, etc.). I very much want this effort to succeed. Whatever its virtues, I see OMA/Olin’s design as a white elephant. Push for Balmori!
  1. Daniel Wolkoff said at 8:57 pm on Wednesday September 17, 2014:
    The exact same adaptive re-use as this 11th St. Bridge is what a sane city needs to do at McMillan Park. We need to stop the EYA development. see this testimony to Muriel bowser, as she ignores unethical "fake" grassroots campaign paid for by Jeff Miller at DMPED. If the VMP plan is so wonderful, why do they illegally hire a Baltimore PR firm to fake grass roots support. Bowser is co-conspirator, she doesn't even know what is going on at McMillan, providing miserable oversight. She facilitates lies by Jeff Miller the VMP project mananger and now Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. She said "city money paying for PR campaign looks bad to the public", DMPED oversight City Council Committee on Economic Development, Feb, 11, 2014. He lies to her and says DMPED didn't pay for the PR campaign that's goal is "neutralize opposition, and "create the appearance of community support for VMP". This was Unethical PR campaign to subvert community opposition to VMP, Please see the City Council hearing video below, Brookland residents landscape architect Mary Pat Rowan and historic restoration artist Daniel Wolkoff testify to Muriel Bowser Chair of the City Council Committee on Economic Development. This link goes to the testimony on McMillan Park from February 2014 http://youtu.be/uXkOgHV7Lhw
  1. eastbankdc said at 10:25 pm on Wednesday September 17, 2014:
    I really like the wave-like structure of the Balmori design, especially how it mirrors the height of the nearby ship docked at the Navy Yard, but I suspect that will be a non-option. I like how its curves are juxtaposed with the lines of the highway. From above, however, one can see that the design appears to start on WotR side and physically and visually ends in a deck facing EotR. Since connecting the two sides of the river is important I think this will be a problem. I find the Olin design heavy handed and overly-angular, and I think that X design feature is unusual given its meaning in American race history. However, the design balances the approaches from both sides of the river equally. My favorite is Anacostia Landing. I like the overhead spatial feature and especially the amphitheater. It also draws visitors to both banks of the river. To me it seems as though the design captures what many residents have said they'd like to see in terms of programming and use of a bridge park. The designers listened. And if there is a water taxi from that area, as proposed in the design, I can take it to Nats games.

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