Team of OMA + OLIN Wins 11th Street Bridge Park Design Competition

When the 11th Street Bridge Park Design competition launched on March 20, 2014, more than 80 companies representing 41 landscape architect/architect teams submitted their proposals to transform an old freeway bridge into the D.C.’s first elevated park, over the Anacostia River. Now, after seven months, the winner has finally been announced.

When the 11th Street Bridge Park Design competition launched on March 20, 2014, more than 80 companies representing 41 landscape architect/architect teams submitted their proposals to transform an old freeway bridge into D.C.’s first elevated park, over the Anacostia River. After seven months, the winner has finally been announced.

The team of Netherlands-based Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) and OLIN, from Philadelphia, has been selected to design the $40 million project. Their proposal, ”Anacostia Crossing,” calls for the construction of two massive planes that intersect, forming an ”X.” Anacostia Crossing will feature an open plaza for markets, festivals and theatrical performances; an enclosed café; and an Environmental Education Center.

“Our design creates a literal intersection and a dynamic, multi-layered amenity for both sides of the river,” OMA Partner-in-Charge Jason Long explained in a statement. “It simultaneously functions as a gateway to both sides of the river, a lookout point with expansive views, a canopy that can shelter programs and a public plaza where the two paths meet. The resulting form of the bridge creates an iconic encounter, an “X” instantly recognizable within the capital’s tradition of civic spaces.”

OMA and OLIN competed against three other teams in the final stage of the competition: Balmori Associates / Cooper, Robertson & Partners; Stoss Landscape Urbanism / Höweler + Yoon Architecture; and Wallace Roberts & Todd (WRT) / NEXT Architects. The Bridge Park’s Jury – comprising experts in the fields of landscape architecture, architecture, urban design, community engagement and public health – unanimously chose OMA + OLIN’s design. It also received the highest marks from the competition’s Design Oversight Committee of experts from across the region, and the most votes in a public poll with more than 1,100 participants.

“The OMA + OLIN concept is simply brilliant in the way they captured ideas we heard from residents on both sides of the river and from across the city,” said 11th Street Bridge Park Director Scott Kratz. “These thoughtful designers – some of the best architects and landscape architects in the world – have taken community-driven ideas and created a compelling new space that will connect two historically divided parts of the city while adding a new shape to the capital’s iconic monuments.”

The 11th Street Bridge Park project is developed by the D.C. city government in collaboration with the Ward 8-based non-profit “Building Bridges Across the River at THEARC.” When finished, it will not only connect the historic neighborhoods of Anacostia and Capitol Hill but it will also help build the surrounding community, improve the quality of life and promote a healthier lifestyle through physical activity, access to healthy food, contact with nature and socializing. Juror Dr. Howard Frumkin, Dean of the School of Public Health at the University of Washington, even described it as ”a giant step for the health of the people of our nation’s capital!”

Renderings courtesy of 11th Street Bridge Park.