Not to be outdone by New York City's beloved High Line (the final, most unwieldy phase of which opens this fall), Washington DC is planning its own elevated park, which will sail over the Anacostia River on a former freeway bridge. Four visions for the park have been released as part of a competition. And they're all very exciting for the city.

The team behind the 11th Street Bridge Park, as it shall be named, rescued the aging bridge from demolition with a vision to transform the roadway into a public space. But where the High Line is a sliver of a park slicing through a city, DC's park offers much more room to play: The resulting area includes about three football fields' worth of real estate, plus the challenge of resculpting the connections where the bridge meets the land in two very different neighborhoods. No wonder these four firms had so much fun. The architects picked to move forward with their design will be selected in October. May the zaniest park win. [ArchDaily]


OLIN/OMA

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Heavily programmed with recreational opportunities, environmental groups, public art exhibitions, and cafes, this park proposal aims to become the center of the communities it strides, not just a connector. The waterfalls at the center will act as a filtration device to clean the river.


Stoss Landscape Urbanism/Höweler + Yoon Architecture

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Perhaps the most traditionally High Line-esque of the bunch, this proposal is all about the idea of "crossing," with multiple paths slicing through park to walk from one side to the other. There are also several banked lawns which act as park space and also seating for larger events as needed.


Balmori Associates/Cooper, Robertson & Partners

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Designed around three major themes—"the Thread," "the Walk," and "the Clasp"—this scheme is all about bringing together the two neighborhoods at either side of the bridge and giving residents a plaza in which to unite in the center of the river. Interestingly this proposal leaves much of the trestle bare, allowing for more connections to the water.


Wallace Roberts & Todd/ NEXT Architects/ Magnusson Klemencic Associates

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Perhaps the most dramatic proposal features a large performing arts space at the middle of the bridge with a lacy canopy that arches over the entire span that also provides shade for sunny days. On one bank is the Water Garden, a comprehensive urban agriculture site and educational center.

Images: Bridge Park Design Competition

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