Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

11th Street Bridge Park design finalists

Final submissions by the four teams:
  • Balmori Associates/Cooper, Robertson & Partners
  • Olin/Office of Metropolitan Architecture
  • Stoss Landscape Urbanism/Höweler + Yoon Architecture
  • Wallace Roberts & Todd/ NEXT Architects/ Magnusson Klemencic Associates
are online here:  11th Street Bridge Park Competition

The site presents "some issues" given that the Navy Yard is still in use and presents serious security restrictions, which at time, close certain areas of the Riverwalk on the north (west) bank.

I have a preference, but I am on the design advisory committee (we react, we don't select, that's up to the jury) so I can't express a public opinion.  In any case, I'm glad I'm not on the jury because selecting a winner will be difficult.

The design review iterations and the ideas that were engendered led me to write four entries touched off by the interaction:

-- "The Anacostia River and considering the bridges as a unit and as a premier element of public art and civic architecture
-- "DC has a big "Garden Festival" opportunity in the Anacostia River""
-- "A world class water/environmental education center at Poplar Point as another opportunity for Anacostia River programming (+ move the Anacostia Community Museum next door)"
-- "Saving the South Capitol Bridge as an exclusive pedestrian and and bicycle bridge"

and rather than considering the teams not selected as "losers," I'd prefer that we consider utilizing elements of their work  on other sites in the city, and continuing to work with all the teams.

This image from the WRT team shows the overall site, linking the north and south banks of the Anacostia River, adjacent to the 11th Street freeway bridges on the right.  On the south is the Anacostia commerical and Historic District.  On the north is Ward 6.

Interestingly, the two firms that impressed me the most at the initial presentations by the finalists in June were the ones that impressed me at the end of last month's "review" meetings. It was interesting how the teams each looked at the project, and which elementss.

Some of the responses that really surprised me and opened up my thinking included a recognition of the importance of wildlife sustenance as an element of "nutrition" and how to program the space on a day-to-day basis (one of the firms ideas lays out a framework that I think is a true advance in parks planning).

All stepped delicately around the fact that there was more to the preferred program than can actually be accommodated on the bridge, and they made various proposals to extend programming on and along the banks of the Anacostia River.

Seeing the submissions (click for calendar)

1.  Online
2.  At exhibits at TheARC in Ward 7, the District Architecture Center, and the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum
3.  In public presentations by the teams on September 29th and 30th at TheARC.

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