11th Street Bridge Park is a place of exchange, an iconic new civic space which connects two historically disparate sides of the Anacostia River: the more affluent Capitol Riverfront and Capitol Hill neighborhoods to the west with the economically challenged neighborhoods of Anacostia to the east. Originally commissioned through a national design competition, the project, now in progress, will contribute to the civic fabric of Washington, D.C. through a multi-functional landscape which promotes the health of the Anacostia River and its adjacent communities, acting as a model both nationally and globally.
The design began with a series of decommissioned bridge piers, left in place in the Anacostia River when a highway bridge was demolished and relocated. Building on top of this existing infrastructure, the bridge park is comprised of a series of rooms and active zones, including two sloped ramps that elevate visitors to maximized lookout points with unprecedented viewsheds of landmarks in either direction. This new geometry of the bridge creates an iconic encounter in the shape an “X,” instantly recognizable as a symbol of crossing, exchange, and convergence.
The design for 11th Street Bridge Park features is a model for sustainable design. The Park is envisioned as a richly-layered landscape with new meadow and tree plantings that provide critical shade, habitat, stormwater capture, and seasonal interest that is currently absent in Anacostia Park. Each ramp terminates in a waterfall that visually reconnects the ramps to the river below. An additional waterfall below the structure collects surface river water and drops it back into the river, emphasizing the need for river aeration and higher oxygen levels. The design also supports a connected natural and human ecosystem; rainwater that is captured can be used for irrigation and food grown on the bridge could be used in markets.
The competition brief grew out of a strong community outreach program which informed the design teams in their explorations particularly with regards to the communities’ programmatic needs. Representatives from adjacent neighborhoods on both sides of the river and other key stakeholders gave feedback during the competition as well as afterward as part of the current Equitable Development Task Force. As a result of this committee’s efforts, in 2016 LISC made a $50 million grant towards ensuring equitable development in relation to the project, through several strategies including workforce development, small business enterprise, and affordable housing.
11th Street Bridge Park | Washington D.C. | OLIN + OMA
OLIN + OMA
Owner | Building Bridges Across the River at THEARC
Hallie Boyce, Partner
Darrell Campana, Associate
Hallie Boyce, Partner
Skip Graffam, Partner
Ryan Buckley, Project Manager
Image Credits | OLIN + OMA