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Designs revealed for Washington D.C's first elevated park

by Katie Buckley | 12 Sep 2014

Following a six month nationwide competition, four multidisciplinary architecture and design teams have been chosen to reveal their design concepts for Washington D.C's first elevated park.

The four finalists are as follows: Balmori Associates / Cooper, Robertson & Partners, OLIN / OMA, Stoss Landscape Urbanism / Höweler + Yoon Architecture and Wallace Roberts & Todd (WRT) / NEXT Architects / Magnusson Klemencic Associates.

The 11th Street Bridge Park Competition, has now reached its third stage. Building on three columns, the remnants of a bridge over the Anacostia River in D.C, the park has to be in keeping with what communities on either side of the proposed park want.

These community ‘wishes’ include; an environmental education centre, performance spaces, public art that tells the history of the region, inclusive play spaces, urban agriculture and kayak/canoe launches.

Balmori Associates / Cooper, Robertson & Partners design presents a bridge park based on three concepts; inclusivity, memorability, and symbolism. The park will offer an open, welcoming space, where the communities on either side of the river can connect and intertwine with each other, promoting social and wellbeing activity. The design also encapsulates a part of D.C’s history, with “The Walk”, a recreation of Frederick Douglas’ (the abolitionist) daily reflective stroll along the Anacostia banks.

A ‘clasp’ at the centre of the design represents two communities in union

OLIN / OMA proposal is called the ‘Anacostia Crossing’. It stipulates that the park will become a ‘place of exchange’, connecting the two historically disparate sides of the river with a series of zoned spaces. OLIN / OMA’s focus seems to be on social interaction and utilising cleverly constructed public spaces such as an open plaza for festivals, markets and performances.

Highlights from OLIN/OMA’s plan include a café, viewing platforms and an educational centre

Stoss Landscape Urbanism / Höweler + Yoon Architecture vision has been titled ‘The Crossing’. Like Balmori Associates / Cooper, Robertson & Partners design, it gives a nod to D.C’s heritage, when small boats and rafts, then ferries, provided vital links across the city. Their project aims to re-establish the social aspect of said transport links acting as a ‘new place of convergence, or congregation, of crossbreeding’.

Greening across the entire bridge will facilitate for healthier lifestyles and communities

Wallace Roberts & Todd (WRT) / NEXT Architects / Magnusson Klemencic Associates concept, described as the ‘Anacostia Landing’ aims to encompass all aspects of the original competition brief; reconnecting diverse neighbourhoods, re-engaging people with the river, improving public health and expanding economic opportunity. The design is split into four zones, each one relating to a different part of the brief and promoting ‘unique ways to engage with the river’.

This design aims to highlight the district as a ‘Waterfront City’

All four teams' designs will be put on display from 14 September in several different cultural venues across Washington D.C until 11 October. The teams will present their concepts to the jury in a series of discussions on the 29 and 30 of September. Following this, the winning team will be chosen on 16 October 2014.

According to the official Bridge Park website, over US$500,000 (€386,467, £307,888) in cash and in-kind gifts have been secured as funding. This is accompanied by US$14.5m (€11.2m, £9m) pledge from the D.C government, however the total expenses for the project will be significantly more.

Read more about the competition here

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FEATURE: Features – The High Line

Following a six month nationwide competition, four multidisciplinary architecture and design teams have been chosen to reveal their design concepts for Washington D.C's first elevated park. The four finalists are as follows: Balmori Associates / Cooper, Robertson & Partners, OLIN / OMA, Stoss Landscape Urbanism / Höweler + Yoon Architecture and Wallace Roberts & Todd (WRT) / NEXT Architects / Magnusson Klemencic Associates. The 11th Street Bridge Park Competition, has
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Stoss Landscape Urbanism / Höweler + Yoon Architecture's envisaged new park bridge - one of the four finalists / All images from 11th Street Bridge Park Competition and the individual teams
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