GGN Announces Groundbreaking at Hines|Archstone’s CityCenterDC Development

aerial view / © neoscape

Gustafson Guthrie Nichol (GGN) announced the beginning of construction of the CityCenterDC development by Hines|Archstone in downtown Washington, DC. A new mixed-use development located on the 10-acre site of the former convention center, CityCenterDC is one of the largest downtown development projects currently underway in any U.S. city. Gustafson Guthrie Nichol participated in developing the master plan for the site with lead architect Foster + Partners, and acted as lead landscape architect, working with DC-based Lee and Associates. Additional members of the design team include DC-based Shalom Baranes Associates, serving as associate master plan architect, project Architect of Record, and lead designer of the residential rental buildings.

Construction commenced on March 23, 2011, and is expected to reach completion by the fourth quarter of 2013. The project includes the development of Northwest Park, a lively addition to downtown DC, the creation of a Central Plaza, as well as dramatic terraces with green roofs and gardens incorporated into all the buildings. More images and description after the break.

“In addition to creating a major new residential and retail hub, CityCenterDC will create a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood, with park and walkways, and is expected to emerge as a new destination in downtown DC”, says Kathryn Gustafson, lead designer and partner at GGN. “We are thrilled to be part of such an esteemed team of designers”.

central plaza / © neoscape

Three key principles guided the design of the new public spaces within CityCenterDC: (1)connecting to the City by reinstating I Street and 10th Street thereby extending the urban fabric of the city through the city and restoring L’Enfant’s Plan, (2) integrating into the neighborhood by incorporating small pedestrian alleyways with limited vehicular access and (3) creating an inviting and exceptional destination featuring signature retail and dining establishments, engaging public spaces with seasonal programming, and a mix of housing opportunities.

central plaza / © neoscape

The project re-introduces the original street grid of Washington’s L’Enfant plan as a framework for a pedestrian-oriented, vibrant, mixed-use neighborhood that connects into the surrounding city fabric and continues the revitalization of this city sector. Signature elements of the CityCenterDC development include Northwest Park and Central Plaza, both designed by GGN.

northwest park / © neoscape

Northwest Park will be an elegant and lively addition to downtown DC. It responds to the site’s critical location along New York Avenue by creating a direct connection to Mount Vernon Square and the White House. The centerpiece of Northwest Park are a pair of fountains which frame the experience of entering the park with the sound of rushing water and a controlled perspective view of the new neighborhood and the entrance to Central Plaza. On either side of the fountains, two areas provide a variety of seating options under a generous canopy of trees surrounded by a mixture of formal hedges.

site plan / © Gustafson Guthrie Nichol

From Northwest Park, visitors will be welcomed into the heart of CityCenterDC’s Central Plaza. The Central Plaza is envisioned as the ‘living room’ of the larger neighborhood, a public space where people can sit at cafes, meet friends and relax. It is a dynamic composition of trees, clipped flowering hedges, seating and fountains designed to give the space a sense of longevity and permanence despite being surrounded by two stories of stores and restaurants, the plaza will have a public feel and will be enlivened by a program of year-round events that take advantage of the design’s ability to accommodate a wide range of flexible uses.

In addition to these street level amenities, dramatic terraces with green roofs and gardens are incorporated into all the buildings of CityCenterDC, contributing to the visual experience of passers-by as well as of building residents. CityCenterDC will be a bustling urban center with a diverse network of open spaces that contribute to the continued rebirth of Washington DC as a vibrant city.

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Cite: Alison Furuto. "GGN Announces Groundbreaking at Hines|Archstone’s CityCenterDC Development" 15 Apr 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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