District Wharf

District Wharf

Washington, D.C., USA

A year-round destination that serves as a model for future waterfront urban development through the United States and around the world.

Perkins Eastman led the design and implementation of a visionary urban district known today as District Wharf, completely transforming and revitalizing a historic section of Washington, D.C. Beginning with a comprehensive water plan, the team created an integrated, state-of-the art new standard for public realm, architecture and planning that honors site, history, and community. District Wharf is a vibrant neighborhood encompassing a wide range of commercial, residential, and public uses. With expansive new piers, buildings, and promenades shaping dynamic spaces for people to gather, District Wharf is a place for all to enjoy life at the water’s edge.

Project Facts

  • Client:

  • Hoffman-Madison Waterfront LLC
  • Size:

  • 2 million sq. ft.
  • Sustainable Design:

  • On-site Stormwater Management
    Co-Generation Systems
    Green Roofs
  • Services:

  • Architecture, Waterfront Design, Urban Strategies, Public Realm Design
  • Markets:

  • Large Scale Mixed-Use, Retail + Entertainment
  • Region:

  • United States

    Awards

  • Merit Award, Urban Design, AIA New York (2020)
  • Grand Prize, Congress for New Urbanism (2020)
  • Finalist, Urban & Masterplans, Architizer A+ (2020)
  • Citation, Urban Planning & Design, AIA New York State (2019)
  • Winner, ULI Global Awards for Excellence (2019)
  • Merit Award, Urban Design & Master Planning, AIA|DC (2018)
  • Presidential Citation, Urban Catalyst, AIA|DC (2018)
  • People's Choice, AIA|DC (2018)
  • Impact Award, ULI Washington Trends Awards, ULI Washington (2017)
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    Originally planned as the gateway to the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C.’s Southwest Waterfront was all but forgotten for half a century. The Perkins Eastman team started by designing a robust water plan to reconnect Washington to its waterfront.

    Fully integrating land and water functions, a series of new piers and floating docks extend the city’s grid out to the expanded pier bulkhead line along the Washington Channel. District Pier, with the impressive Dockmaster Building at its terminus, stretches more than 400 feet into the Channel and is an ideal, flexible space for public events and concerts. Transit Pier and the Jetty Terminal facilitate water taxi access for travelers throughout the District, Maryland, and Virginia while Market Pier adds additional floating barge space to the historic Municipal Fish Market.

    District Wharf’s water-first design provides unprecedented waterfront access to the region and influenced the architecture and design throughout the entire development.

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    What sets the innovative market-driven vision of the District Wharf apart from others is its captivating pedestrian experience. Placemaking design strategies yield adaptable human-scaled spaces in between each building in the form of open spaces and alley ways, each with a distinct character.

    Wharf Street is a flexible mile-long shared street with café zones and promenade space running parallel to the water. The architecture along this key spine including the Pierhouse and a series of pavilions for retail, dining, and other activities shape a unique experience along the water. Small alleys—also known as mews—are multi-purpose. Not only can they be used for musical performances, quiet escapes, and impromptu gatherings, they also act as service access for larger buildings, provide alternate walking routes, and offer protection from the elements.

    Every space at District Wharf is carefully choreographed to ensure diverse experiences and personal moments for all times and occasions.

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    A model public-private partnership, the Southwest Waterfront is the largest planned unit development in the history of Washington D.C. District Wharf’s first phase encompasses two million square feet of urban space. Spanning more than a decade from original concept to completion, Perkins Eastman’s dedicated work on District Wharf consisted of partnering with dozens of design firms, developers, and construction companies. In addition to leading the design of the overall development, Perkins Eastman also served as the architectural designer of several large, complex buildings including 800 Maine Ave, a mixed-use office building, and The Channel, a first-of-its-kind apartment building housing over 500 units atop a world-class music venue, The Anthem.

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    District Wharf’s design is driven by a sensitivity to the community, ecology, and economy of the Southwest Waterfront. Hundreds of community meetings yielded a plan that would be 60% publicly accessible and provide mixed-income housing. The development encompasses extensive transportation planning, making it equally accessible by boaters, water taxi patrons, pedestrians, bikers, drivers, and public transit riders.

    Improving environmental health and maintaining limited impact, sustainability measures are central to the plan. District Wharf is designed to exceed the requirements of the local Anacostia Waterfront Initiative through the innovative use of cisterns, vegetation, and permeable pavement. 100% of stormwater is managed onsite, helping divert up to 33 million gallons of untreated runoff from the Channel. Significant energy reductions and other environmental benefits are achieved through use of co-generation systems, green and high-reflectance roofs, and biodiverse plantings.

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    “Working together, the waterfront’s diversity of places yields a lively urban environment. These places are public, pedestrian-oriented, and bound to The Wharf’s connective tissue. Beyond the establishment of the retail and private real estate realms, The Wharf’s places characterize the memory of the city, and add real civic value to a decidedly new destination in Southwest DC.” – Stanton Eckstut, FAIA, Design Principal

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