Washington, D.C., August 14, 2014 – The NoMa Parks Foundation has announced the 10 finalists for the NoMa Underpass Design Competition. A distinguished group of artists, architects, lighting designers, and landscape architects representing three countries and seven cities across the United States have been selected. The finalists will be given an honorarium to further develop their conceptual designs to transform four underpasses into safe, inspiring and beautiful spaces:
Final designs will be presented to the community in October. With community feedback in hand, the jury will select the winners by year-end. Installation of the winning designs will begin in 2015. The project is a partnership between the NoMa Parks Foundation, the District of Columbia government, WMATA, and Amtrak.
“As the finalists embark on the last phase of the competition, excitement is growing in NoMa. Our transformed underpasses will unquestionably comprise a dynamic, signature moment here for years to come,” said Charles “Sandy” Wilkes, Chair of the NoMa Parks Foundation.
The purpose of the NoMa Underpass Design Competition is to transform the four underpasses at Florida Avenue, K, L, and M Streets, NE, from their current unappealing condition into light-filled, artistic spaces and improve the experience for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicular traffic.
The underpass competition has generated overwhelming interest and excitement since its announcement in April. During the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) phase, the Foundation received 248 submissions from 14 countries, including the District of Columbia. After a rigorous review, 49 semi-finalists were selected, which has now been narrowed down to 10 finalists.
The competition’s jury is comprised of Elizabeth Broun, Director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum; Roger Lewis, FAIA, Architect, University of Maryland Professor Emeritus of Architecture, Washington Post Columnist; Robin Rose, Washington artist; George Hemphill, local art curator/gallery owner; and Charles “Sandy” Wilkes, Chair of the NoMa Parks Foundation.
“The artists have been creative and inspiring in finding ways to transform these bleak underpasses into exciting urban spaces,” said Elizabeth Broun. “The jurying process has been thoughtful and professional. Congratulations to the NoMa BID and Foundation leadership for making the future of this neighborhood so much brighter.”
The competition is led by the NoMa Parks Foundation, and is one of several projects that are proceeding concurrently to acquire land, improve existing sites, and execute the long-term vision of the NoMa Public Realm Design Plan.
About The NoMa Parks Foundation
The NoMa Parks Foundation was formed in 2012 and the following year received a $50 million commitment from the District government to acquire land, build parks and enhance public space in NoMa.
In the rapidly redeveloping NoMa neighborhood, one critical ingredient is missing: parks. More than 18,000 people live in greater NoMa, and the population is projected to double in the next 10 years; but currently NoMa contains no publicly accessible parks, playgrounds, or plazas. While the District of Columbia averages 12.9 acres of open space per 1,000 residents, none of these spaces exist in the NoMa neighborhood. They are urgently needed to serve the residents and more than 40,000 daytime employees and visitors to the neighborhood. Undeveloped land is becoming more scarce each year as development occurs on the remaining empty lots. The creation of refreshing, inviting parks and public spaces before it is too late will improve the lives of people in NoMa today and for generations to come. More about the NoMa Parks Foundation can be found at www.nomabid.org/parks.
NoMa is a vibrant, growing neighborhood nestled among Union Station, the U.S. Capitol, Shaw, and the H Street, NE corridor in Washington, D.C. Over the last several years, private developers have invested more than $5 billion in the 35-block area within the NoMa BID boundary, and have plans to develop more than 16 million square feet of additional office, residential, hotel, and retail space. NoMa is home to more than 3,900 new apartments, and more than 40,000 people work in NoMa each day. With unparalleled transportation access via Amtrak, VRE, MARC, two Red Line Metro stops, and vehicular access to Interstate 395, visitors, workers and residents can easily travel throughout the region as well as to New York or anywhere on the East Coast. For more information about NoMa, visit www.nomabid.org and sign up for our bimonthly newsletter.
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