The firms’ proposal beat out three other shortlisted designs for a planned bridge spanning the Anacostia River between Anacostia Park and the Washington Navy Yard. The design proposal includes a filtering waterfall system linking the bridge with the river below, a cafe, a performance space, and a hammock grove, among other amenities.
The park will be built on the pillars of a decommissioned road bridge, and it’s intended to connect what have historically been very disparate neighborhoods, divided economically and racially by the river. On the west side of the river is wealthy Capitol Hill and the industrial Navy Yard, (which dumped toxic waste into the river for years). Across the water, on the eastern side, Anacostia is a historically low-income, nearly all-black neighborhood.
OMA’s partner in charge of the project, Jason Long, describes the design as “a literal intersection and a dynamic, multi-layered amenity for both sides of the river. It simultaneously functions as a gateway, a lookout point with expansive views, a canopy that can shelter programs and a public plaza where the two paths meet.” The expansive design also includes a waterfall system flowing from the bridge to the river below, designed with a filtration system that works with the nearby wetlands to actively cleanse the long-polluted river. Renderings show the falls may even have some mural-esque element featuring images and quotes from abolitionist Frederick Douglass, who lived in Anacostia.
A collaborative effort from D.C.’s city government and a nonprofit called Building Bridges Across the River at THEARC, the elevated greenway is expected to open in 2018.