Visions for reinventing Washington, D.C.’s 11th Street Bridge Park are taking shape in a design competition to transform an existing bridge into an elevated park that spans across the Anacostia River. On Tuesday, the final four teams submitted their final proposals for the project, which aims to re-engage city residents with the riverfront, offer new civic space that fosters play and health, and provide environmental education.

Launched in March, the competition began initial submissions from 80 design firms based around the world. The list was narrowed down to six, and then four. According to 11th Street Bridge Park director Scott Kratz, the four teams were given $27,500 stipends to create their visions for the $25 million project.

The teams will present their designs to the jury and the public on Sept. 29 and 30. Then the jury will choose the winning group, based on a report from the Design Oversight Committee representing stakeholders, the jury’s expertise, and public feedback. The winning team will be announced on Oct. 16.

Construction is expected to begin in 2017, with a goal of completion by 2018.

Here are the final designs and the teams' design statements, edited for length:

Balmori Associates / Cooper, Robertson & Partners

The structure allows for the design of a suspended deck giving freedom to the overall shape, program, and topography of Bridge Park and permits the deck edge to be varied, thin, and elegant.
Credit: Balmori Associates/Cooper The structure allows for the design of a suspended deck giving freedom to the overall shape, program, and topography of Bridge Park and permits the deck edge to be varied, thin, and elegant.


Bridge Park celebrates the coming together of two communities clasped together as one.
Credit: Balmori Associates/Cooper Bridge Park celebrates the coming together of two communities clasped together as one.


From the Architects:

Bridge Park will function as much as a civic center as it will as a park. It is more than a river crossing; it is a place. It will be a pioneer by strengthening the communities that give it life. Through the design of Bridge Park, we believe we can help re-connect the diverse neighborhoods on both sides of the river, re-engage the Anacostia River, improve the general quality of public health through physical and social activity, and generate new jobs for local citizens of the district. Three concepts have shaped our design. Our goal is to create a Bridge Park that is: inclusive, memorable, and symbolic.

OLIN / OMA

A waterfall marks their terminus and reconnects them to the river below. On the east side, this waterfall is linked to an active filtration system that—together with new wetland areas adjacent to the bridge piers—works to actively clean the river around the Anacostia Crossing.
OMA + OLIN A waterfall marks their terminus and reconnects them to the river below. On the east side, this waterfall is linked to an active filtration system that—together with new wetland areas adjacent to the bridge piers—works to actively clean the river around the Anacostia Crossing.


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. Extending over the river, the Anacostia paths join to form a loop, embracing the path from the Navy Yard side and linking the opposing banks in a single gesture. The resulting form of the bridge creates an iconic encounter, an “X” instantly recognizable as a new image for the river.
OMA + OLIN 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. Extending over the river, the Anacostia paths join to form a loop, embracing the path from the Navy Yard side and linking the opposing banks in a single gesture. The resulting form of the bridge creates an iconic encounter, an “X” instantly recognizable as a new image for the river.


From the Architects:

Our design for the 11th Street Bridge Park—the Anacostia Crossing—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—more destination than elevated throughfare—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.

Stoss Landscape Urbanism / Höweler + Yoon Architecture

The cafe base for the 11th Street Bridge Park encourages congregation and serves as a model for healthy living.
Credit: Stoss . Höweler + Yoon Architecture The cafe base for the 11th Street Bridge Park encourages congregation and serves as a model for healthy living.


While this project encourages social exchange and an easier commute, it also wants to maintain a healthy river environment.
Credit: Stoss / Höweler + Yoon Architecture While this project encourages social exchange and an easier commute, it also wants to maintain a healthy river environment.

From the Architects:

Historically in Washington, small boats and rafts, then ferries, provided vital links across the city’s rivers, including at places along the Anacostia River. In the not so recent past, ferries shuttled workers living in the Anacostia neighborhood across the river to their jobs in the Navy Yard. These ferry crossings became as much places of congregation and assembly, places of social exchange, as they were places of passage. Our proposal for the 11th Street Bridge Park puts in place a new crossing, one that establishes new connections across and to the Anacostia River and to the burgeoning and socially / culturally rich neighborhoods along its banks.

Wallace Roberts & Todd / NEXT Architects / Magnusson Klemencic Associates

The amphitheatre features a 1.4-ace platform spanning the river, topped by a canopy, aiming to engage people with the river.
Credit: WRT/NEXT The amphitheatre features a 1.4-ace platform spanning the river, topped by a canopy, aiming to engage people with the river.


The Anacostia Landing is a place to improve public health through recreation and play while serving as a model for ecological place-making.
WRT/NEXT The Anacostia Landing is a place to improve public health through recreation and play while serving as a model for ecological place-making.


From the Architects:

Welcome to Anacostia Landing, a 25-acre park centered on the Anacostia River, gateway to historic Anacostia and extraordinary perch from which to view the District of Columbia’s emergence as a waterfront city. The WRT/NEXT design fulfills this vision by giving coordinated and exciting form to the goals set forth in the competition brief: reconnect diverse communities, reengage people with the river, improve public health through recreation and play, and expand economic opportunity.