11th Street Bridge Park by OMA
Location: Washington D.C., USA
Our design for the 11th Street Bridge Park is a place of exchange. The park at Anacostia Crossing will connect two historically disparate sides of the river with a series of outdoor programmed spaces and active zones that will provide an engaging place hovering above, yet anchored in, the Anacostia River.
To create this place, we have designed the bridge park as a clear moment of intersection where two sides of the river converge and coexist. Anacostia Crossing will offer layered programs, presenting a new neighborhood park, an after-hours destination for the nearby workforce, a retreat for residents and a territory for tourists to explore. Paths from each side of the river operate as springboards-sloped ramps that elevate visitors to maximized look out points to landmarks in either direction.
The resulting form of the bridge creates an iconic encounter, an “X” instantly recognizable as a new image for the river. While the bridge is a unique and iconic structure, its character and essence are rooted in making this river landscape accessible to the community. Through programmed activities the bridge will showcase the region’s unique cultural and natural history. To encourage visitors to spend time on the bridge and neighboring communities throughout the year, amenities for comfort and refreshment, mitigation of climate extremes and opportunities for seasonal programming are provided along the entire length of the bridge.
The intersection point of the two paths shapes the central meeting point of the bridge-an open plaza that provides a flexible venue for markets, festivals and theatrical performances held throughout the year. The paths that frame this plaza further enhance the bridge as a hub of activity, providing a sequence of zones designated for play, relaxation, learning and gathering. The paths also form elevated platforms on a 5% slope with views to the Anacostia River. These platforms simultaneously provide shade and shelter for the café on the southeast side and the performance space and hammock grove on the northwest side.
A series of voids along the bridge provide spaces for play and access down to the river itself. The performance space and café are each partially carved into the body of the bridge, creating intimate zones with views to the waters below. These areas allow visitors to engage the river from multiple vantage points, from above to take in its majesty, or engaging with the waters for boating and recreation.
Our design will serve as a catalyst to improve the ecological integrity of the Anacostia River through demonstration and education on ecosystem enhancement as well as restoration shoreline plantings making it once again one of our Nation’s greatest waterways. The 11th Street Bridge Park creates a place for sharing the rich cultural diversity of communities on both sides of the river. The full integration of architecture, landscape and infrastructure allows for the creation of a socially sustainable civic experience.