Washington, D.C. plans to transform its abandoned rail infrastructure into a vibrant recreational destination, following the lead of so many other metropolises. A new batch of design proposals suggests that D.C.’s might be the best elevated park yet.
The 11th Street Bridge Park, to be built on a set of abandoned pillars from an old road bridge crossing the Anacostia River in Southeast D.C., will link the Navy Yard to Anacostia Park. A collaboration between a nonprofit called The Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus and D.C. government, the park is intended to feature outdoor performance spaces, playgrounds, orchards, classrooms, and kayaking.
Four teams of architects, engineers and urban designers have been shortlisted for the design of D.C.’s first elevated park, and the winning scheme will be selected in mid-October, and completed somewhere around 2017-2018. Here’s what the designers envision:
This team proposes creating a 25-acre park called Anacostia Landing, with revamped parkland along the banks of the river and a “balcony” platform spanning the river 30 feet above the water. This covered balcony would feature a children’s garden, fountains, an amphitheater, and a three-story community and education center. Other draws? A trampoline park, climbing walls, and a dog park.
This design takes inspiration from the ferries that once shuttled workers across the river from Anacostia to jobs at the Navy Yard, and the social assembly and exchange that occurred there as a result.
Olin and OMA envision the bridge as a place of exchange, where communities on either side of the river and converge and coexist. The bridge is sloped to provide better views, and an open plaza for markets and festivals, a cafe, a performance space, and hammock grove provide plenty of opportunities for community activity. A filtered waterfall system connecting to the river below cleans the water around the crossing.
The main concepts behind this design were that it be inclusive, memorable, and symbolic. The bridge is intended to connect to the main streets of the communities on either side of the river to drive urban development to those areas. Its distinctive structure, topped by massive triangular supports, is meant to evoke the stride of a person walking across the bridge, inspired by abolitionist Frederick Douglass, who lived in Anacostia.