Park Review: The Yards Park, Washington D.C.

By on September 2, 2011.

The site is adjacent to the operating Washington Navy Yard and was formerly part of the Navy Yard’s industrial operations, which ceased, for the most part, following WWII. The Yards Park is part of the larger 42 acre parcel of land known as “The Yards”, which boasts several historically protected and former industrial buildings. Some of those buildings are currently being redeveloped as residential and retail facilities. At full build-out, The Yards will include 2,800 new residential units, 400,000 square feet of retail space and 1.8 million square feet of new office space in addition to the world-class urban waterfront park.

The Yards Park is approximately 5.5 acres and includes several well designed, programmable components including:

  • The Great Lawn is an open, flat, grassy area with no trees within its boundaries, but with walkways and landscaping, including trees, on its perimeter.
  • The Yards Bridge is a landmark, iconic, white tubular steel pedestrian bridge that spans the park’s water feature basin.
  • The park’s water feature includes a grouping of vertical water jets inset on the upper plaza area, which is accessible for play; a large falling wall of water into the lower wading basin, which allows comfortable pedestrian access behind the sheet of water; and a large, rectangular wading basin pool approximately 12 inches deep which is also accessible for wading and water play.
  • A broad, riverfront esplanade boardwalk runs the entire length of the park’s waterfront. The Yards Park waterfront boardwalk is linked to the east by a boardwalk of similar scale that runs the length of the existing Navy Yard’s riverfront (a large Navy cruiser-class ship is permanently docked there); to the west, The Yards Park is linked by a broad floating walkway to Diamond Teague Park which is adjacent to the Washington Nationals ballpark.
  • Evening lighting of The Yards Park is extensive, significantly beyond functional levels and visually dramatic.


M. Paul Friedberg and Partners 

Forest City Washington
Federal General Services Administration (GSA)
District of Columbia
Washington, District of Columbia
Public Park
Design Completion:

Image Credit:
Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District
Narrative Credit:
Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District
Motion Picture Television and Development of DC

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