The subject of Washington’s buzziest architecture competition isn’t a Smithsonian museum or a downtown office building, but a series of concrete piers jutting out of the Anacostia River a dozen blocks east of Nationals Park.
More than 40 architecture teams comprised of 82 firms initially expressed interested in designing a park traversing the Anacostia – what could become a local version of New York’s High Line Park — atop piers that held up the old 11th Street Bridge before it was replaced.
The four finalists submitted their proposals to the project’s organizers Tuesday, and they leave nothing to the imagination: there are amphitheaters, education centers, dining piers, urban gardens, waterfalls, climbing walls and an array of eye-catching architectural features, any of which could transform the old bridge site into a distinctive landmark.
Scott Kratz, director of the 11th Street Bridge Park, said the project has the chance to bring needed attention to a river that has suffered environmentally and long served as a barrier between the majority of the city and some of its poorest communities. He said he was thrilled at the quality of responses.
“These are some of the best designers in the world and their work reflects that,” he said. “We were hoping that the proposals would not just be shades of gray and we received reds and blues and greens and purples. They are all so different while still responding to the community’s vision.
”The teams will come to Washington to present their ideas to a jury of experts in design, architecture, health and economic development on Sept. 29-30 and a final decision is expected Oct. 16.