11th Street Bridge Park Announces Design Competition

Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Scott Kratz

Washington, D.C.—Building Bridges Across the River at THEARC in collaboration with the D.C. Office of Planning launches a nation-wide design competition to create the 11th Street Bridge Park, transforming an old freeway bridge into a new civic space over the Anacostia River. As the old 11th Street river bridges that connect Washington, D.C.’s Capitol Hill and historic Anacostia neighborhoods have been replaced, this aged infrastructure will be transformed into the city’s first elevated park: a new venue for healthy recreation, environmental education and the arts.

The 11th Street Bridge Park will accomplish four goals: connect two diverse communities, re-engage residents with the Anacostia River, improve public health and become an anchor for economic development.

A Community Led Project: Building Bridges Across the River at THEARC staff have led nearly 200 meetings with church leaders, business owners, and residents from across the city soliciting programming concepts for this new space. These community-generated ideas include: environmental education center; performance area; urban agriculture; accessible and multi-generational playspace; café; and kayak / canoe launches on the river below. These ideas are incorporated into the design competition asking architects and landscape architects from across the country to turn these concepts into reality.  

 “I think the bridge is going to bring a lot of people together who normally don’t cross paths.” Tendani Mplubusi-El, Ward 8 artist and resident

“The bridge is the ideal location for a great new District attraction—it connects neighborhoods and commercial destinations and highlights the Anacostia River, one of D.C.’s most treasured cultural and natural resources,” said Rosalynn Hughey, Interim Director of the DC Office of Planning.

“The creation of vibrant public spaces is so critical to effective urban revitalization,” said Deborah Ratner Salzberg, president of Forest City Washington, master developer of the nearby waterfront urban mixed-use redevelopment project known as The Yards. “The adaptive reuse 11th Street Bridge Park project will result in yet another very valuable asset for connecting the community in this area of the District.”

The 11th Street Bridge Park design competition jury is comprised of experts from across the country representing the fields of landscape architecture, architecture, urban design, community engagement and public health.

The jury includes:

  • Howard Frumkin, M.D., Dr.P.H. Dean, School of Public Health, University of Washington
  • Toni L. Griffin, AIA, Founding Director of the J. Max Bond Center for the Just City, Spitzer School of Architecture, City College of New York
  • Carol Mayer Reed, FASLA, Partner in Charge of Landscape Architecture and Urban Design, Mayer/Reed
  • Michaele Pride, AIA, NOMA, Associate Dean for Public Outreach and Engagement, School of Architecture and Planning, University of New Mexico
  • Harry Robinson III, FAIA, AICP, NOMA, Dean Emeritus and Professor of Urban Design, School of Architecture and Design, Howard University
  • Patricia Zingsheim, AIA, CPM, Associate Director of Revitalization and Design, D.C. Office of Planning (Alternate Juror)
  • Donald J. Stastny FAIA, FAICP, FCIP, Design Competition Advisor

Additionally, a “Design Oversight Committee” comprised of experts from across the city representing the arts, environmental, design, recreation and health communities will review the design competition program brief and provide pivotal feedback to the jury during the nine month-long process.

WHAT: Nationwide Design Competition Call for Entries to Landscape Architects and Architects

WHEN: Launches Thursday, March 20, 2014

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Visit www.bridgepark.org

Competition Fact Sheet

  • Stage 1 – March 20, 2014. Call for entries open to United States based designers. Design leads comprised of a landscape architect and architect submit qualifications and essay describing their design approach to be reviewed by jury members and Design Oversight Committee. Jury interviews top six to eight landscape architect / architect teams. 
  • Stage 2 - Jury selects four design teams who at this point will have been required to identify a structural engineer and lighting designer as part of their team. Each team provided $25,000 stipend to create full design renderings to be juried and evaluated for cost and constructability. Renderings to be publicly displayed in an exhibition at the District Architecture Center and on the 11th Street Bridge Park’s website for public comment.
  • Stage 3 - Jury selects design team and concept design for the 11th Street Bridge Park. 

Additional Facts about the 11th Street Bridge Park

  • 76,000 residents live within two miles of the future 11th Street Bridge Park
  • 11th Street Bridge Park length: approximately 900 feet, the length of three football fields
  • Estimated cost of construction: $25 million
  • Earliest opening date: 2017 / 2018

About the 11th Street Bridge Park

As the old 11th Street river bridges that connect Washington, D.C.’s Capitol Hill and historic Anacostia neighborhoods are being replaced, the District government and a local nonprofit organization, Building Bridges Across the River at THEARC, will transform the aged infrastructure into the city’s first elevated park: a new venue for healthy recreation, environmental education and the arts. The 11th Street Bridge Park will span the capital’s cityscape – a soaring structure that will engage the local community and bring residents together from across the city. We are proposing to create a place unlike any other in Washington, D.C. – one that supports the community’s physical, environmental and economic health.  To date, staff have raised over $500,000 as part of a larger $1 million pre-capital campaign goal.

About Building Bridges Across the River at THEARC – The 11th Street Bridge Park is a project of the Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus (THEARC), a $27 million, 110,000 square-foot campus located east of the Anacostia River in Washington, D.C.'s Ward 8. The mission of THEARC is to improve the quality of life for residents of Washington D.C.’s East of the River community, a key goal of the future 11th Street Bridge Park. THEARC is a home away from home for the many underserved children and adults of East of the River, enabling them to participate in dance classes, music instruction, fine arts, academics, continuing education, mentoring, tutoring, recreation, medical and dental care, and other services at a substantially reduced cost or no cost at all. On-site non-profit partners include Washington Ballet, Levine School of Music, Children’s Medical Center and eight other organizations. 


“The first step in getting two sides to really enjoy each other is to get two sides to really understand each other. And this is the perfect opportunity in a wonderful, beautiful, recreational space.”

Doyle Mitchell, CEO Industrial Bank