Balmori Associates' and Cooper, Robertson & Partners' proposal.

Last week, the 11th Street Bridge Park unveiled four finalist design concepts for a proposed linear park to be built on the piers of an old highway bridge spanning the Anacostia River in Washington, D.C.

The finalist teams in the design competition, which attracted more than 40 entrants, are: Balmori Associates / Cooper, Robertson & Partners; OLIN / OMA; Stoss Landscape Urbanism / Höweler + Yoon Architecture; and Wallace Roberts & Todd (WRT) / NEXT Architects / Magnusson Klemencic Associates.

Competition organizers urged the designers to create an active, multi-use public space, and they delivered. There are grassy amphitheaters, boat launches, and play areas galore. Three of the designs seek to establish an iconic form on the river. Balmori / Cooper, Robertson announce the park with a tall side-to-side wave element; OLIN / OMA create an X out of two intersecting planes, and WRT / NEXT / Magnusson Klemencic propose a billowing overhead canopy. The design by Stoss / Höweler + Yoon has a lower profile, with two structures nestled under turf.

The 11th Street Bridge Park will connect two very different parts of D.C.: the rapidly redeveloping Navy Yard area, not far from Capitol Hill, and Anacostia, where poverty and unemployment remain high. It will be built by a local nonprofit, Building Bridges Across the River at THEARC, and the city government, which has committed about half of the expected $25 million construction cost.

Renderings of the finalists' designs are being exhibited at THEARC Gallery and, from September 24, at the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum and the District Architecture Center. Members of the public can also view the design concepts online and take a survey at The winning team will be announced on October 16.