The revitalizing, world-class 11th Street Bridge Park project takes another major step forward in DC’s Anacostia neighborhood

In April of 2020 the architectural firm OMA, together with landscape architects OLIN, structural engineers WRA and other members of the 11th Street Bridge Park design team, completed their preliminary plans for this world-class urban regeneration project. The plans were reviewed and approved by the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC).

The 11th Street Bridge Park project has been reported on several times here in REVITALIZATION over the past five years (most recently in this article), including this Guest Article by the project’s organizers, Scott Kratz and Adam Kent back in 2017. It’s one of our favorite revitalization projects in the U.S., since it is repurposing and renewing old bridge infrastructure to reconnect and revitalize neighborhoods (AKA, the 3Re Strategy). They are also using a Community Land Trust (CLT) to minimize displacement.

The Bridge Park also received positive feedback from the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts and is planning a presentation to the full Commission this Fall. Since winning the international design competition together with landscape architects OLIN in 2014, OMA has been working with the District Department of Transportation, non-profit Building Bridges Across the River as well as multiple agencies and stakeholders to develop and improve the bridge design.

Jason Long, OMA Partner, said “At a time when we are paradoxically isolated from one another but united in a common cause, public spaces that we all share and that benefit health have become more important than ever. Our work has focused on creating a new civic space that engages with the Anacostia River and refining the program for the park to ensure it will be a place for everyone in DC.”

OMA has continued its collaboration with OLIN under the leadership of partner Hallie Boyce as they refine the program spaces as well as materiality and landscape design across the Bridge Park.

OMA and OLIN have also been working closely with structural engineers WRA and Delon Hampton to advance the bridge structure and design. Key stakeholders such as the Anacostia Watershed Society have worked together with the design team to refine the design of the major programmatic spaces at the Bridge Park, including the Exelon Environmental Education Center.

Yusef Ali Dennis, OMA Associate, explained “This project would not have been possible without the efforts of key stakeholders and the community. Their comments and feedback truly shaped the bridge, from its overall design to its specific programs and features. It’s only fitting that a project of this size and importance has required such broad cooperation and collaboration.

The 11th Street Bridge Park is slated to begin construction in 2021, and will create a communal gathering place to unite a long-divided city.

As the NCPC report points out; “the park will increase community connectivity and create welcoming and vibrant spaces that enhance the user experience and foster civic and local uses.

This project will be the first public space in the nation’s capital that will make a bridge a destination—a park above the river—where access to green spaces can significantly encourage physical activity while building social capital.

Image courtesy of OMA / OLIN.

See 11th Street Bridge Park website.

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