The Winning Design for DC’s 11th Street Bridge Park

by UrbanTurf Staff

On Thursday morning, the design jury for the highly-anticipated DC park will announce that the winning proposal comes from the team of OLIN, OMA and Arup.

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 the planned park to the High Line in New York City.

The design from OLIN, OMA and Arup, called Anacostia Crossing, consists of two ramps, projecting from each shore, that intersect and elevate to create “a series of outdoor programmed spaces and active zones that will provide an engaging place hovering above, yet anchored in, the Anacostia River.” Among those programmed spaces are an amphitheater, an environmental education center, a sculpture garden and a boat launch.

From the team’s design statement:

The intersection point of the two paths shapes the central meeting point of the bridge—an open plaza that provides a flexible venue for markets, festivals, and theatrical performances held throughout the year. The paths that frame this plaza further enhance the bridge as a hub of activity, providing a sequence of zones designated for play, relaxation, learning and gathering.

A total of 41 design proposals came in for the park, and a committee narrowed those down to six back in April. In May, those six were narrowed down to a final four, which were announced in September.

While a team has now been chosen to design the park, the big question that remains is whether or not the necessary funds will materialize to make the massive project a reality. Approximately $40 million needs to be raised in order to construct and operate the park. Scott Kratz, the director of the 11th Street Bridge Park, says that the DC government has already committed just shy of $15 million for construction costs.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/olin_oma_arup_will_design_11th_street_bridge_park/9081


  1. Paul S said at 1:45 pm on Thursday October 16, 2014:
    This still feels to me like it connects nowhere to nowhere. And that's not promising for drawing people into the park. This is nowhere near the critical mass of activity in the Navy Yard. And there is absolutely nothing going on at the Anacostia side of this. The Highline thrives because it connects the Meat Packing district to the area near Penn Station. It also offers a unique perspective on Manhattan with scenic views of the city skyline. It's become a tourist attraction in and of itself. Personally I'd rather have seen this $40 million go to dramatically improve downtown parks where people already work and live. Like Franklin Park, the grounds of Mount Vernon Square and that eyesore of a park at 2nd/H/Mass NW over the I-395 highway.
  1. skidrowedc@gmail.com said at 7:11 pm on Thursday October 16, 2014:
    We must keep a wary eye: Rem Koolhaas (OMA) may be a "starchitect" with legions of designophilic followers, but most of their executed projects that I have seen in person are shoddily executed. Spaces aren't the right sizes or proportions for proper functionality. The expense of the Big Design Move impoverishes the materials and details of the rest of the structure. And often the Big Design Move, although flashy and cool in-and-of itself, doesn't make any sense in the context. I remain optimistic for this project, but OMA's victory worries me. This project's functional areas must function well--there is no other reason for a person to visit! This project cannot have shoddy materials and bad detailing, because it's a bridge! And the operations endowment will need to be increased, because so many aspects of the design (note the rendering's flawless glass handrails, pristine white concrete, perfectly-backlit sheet fountain, and so forth) are either perfect or a failure.
  1. DC-Kevin said at 8:25 pm on Thursday October 16, 2014:
    The somewhat obvious point that seems to be missing in this dialog is that the proposed park is right next to a heavily trafficked highway. The road noise, exhaust and vibration will surely dissuade people from visiting.
  1. Wayne said at 8:44 pm on Thursday October 16, 2014:
    There are a number of concerns with any unproven idea (unproven because this is not NYC). NYC provides a dense pedestrian population to its "bridge" and it is a means to travel to desirable destinations. That is not the case here. There does not exists a clamoring of people to walk to Anacostia; nor Anacostia to the Navy Yard. What activities get placed on this bridge will compete with either side of the bridge. Both sides have ample room to provide these amenities. Further, the 110 acre Anacostia Park sits at the end of this bridge, only needing $ to make it a destination itself. Further, can you imagine anyone walking to the center of this windy unshaded bridge when tempatures are below 50 or above 90? Lastly, for $40M you could provide some pretty special amenties in "downtown" Anacostia.
  1. TJaws said at 2:33 am on Friday October 17, 2014:
    Dear L'Enfant Plaza, meet your nephew, 11th Street Bridge. We will be lamenting this decision in 15 years.

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