Washington DC’s Very Own High Line Will Clean Its Dirty River Water

Washington DC’s Very Own High Line Will Clean Its Dirty River Water

The Anacostia River that runs through Washington DC has historically been known as, well, not the cleanest river in the United States. A new elevated park straddling the river plans to filter the dirty water with a waterfall feature (apparently projected with Frederick Douglass’s face). It’s the winning design announced today for the city’s upcoming elevated park.

Of the four finalist ideas proposed for DC’s new 11th Street Bridge Park, this isn’t even the wackiest of the ideas, but it’s certainly a very pretty and smart plan. Architects at OLIN and OMA collaborated on the X-shaped park that doubles the surface area of the bridge by adding upper and lower levels that intersect at the center.

This single park seems to pack pretty much every buzzy public space feature into one proposal: an urban farm, kayak rental, wacky public art. But there are some truly innovative and intriguing-sounding additions. The gently sloping lawns planned for each ramp are simply perfect for the public performance areas. And a hammock grove that includes large climbing nets that allow people to sit out over the river — well, that just sounds lovely.

At the edge of one cantilevered section, two river-filtering waterfalls will tumble from the top area into the river below, providing a lovely backdrop for the cafe. The waterfalls will also be adjacent to an environmental centre, where students will learn to become stewards of the river. No specifics yet about how exactly the water will be cleaned, but anything that brings attention to water quality in an eye-catching way is a nice touch.

The park is still in the funding stage, as about $US40 million needs to be raised for construction to begin. And of course the designers and the city will begin the feasibility studies to see exactly how the waterfalls and all these other components will come together. [11th Street Bridge Park]