West 8 was selected as the designer of the public realm and waterfront for the Riverpoint project on Buzzard Point. This will be the firm’s first Washington project – it has done work around the world, notably at Governor’s Island in New York City, Madrid, Seoul, and Hong Kong. While we don’t know yet what the project will look like, this excerpt from West 8’s website gives some clues about their design philosophy:
West 8 approaches the production of nature in two different - but characteristically Dutch - ways. First, we take a classic civil engineering approach for creating landscape - a logic based on utility and necessity. Second, we are part of a landscape tradition that confers identity and, therefore, understand the need for creating symbols in the production of landscape. This method envisions a new nature, a 'second nature' of constructed landscapes that respond to pragmatic demands (water management, population growth, traffic congestion) and also reinforce the culture to which they belong (identity, symbols, expression).
In a departure from the old demolish and install engineering methodology, or the current preserve and protect model, we are adding and expressing new natures. The real future in today's debate about sustainability lies not in a political or philosophical dialogue about what we are protecting or how we are going to 'sustain' it, but rather how to actively create new ecologies. Creating land and then painting it: in many ways, this is the soul of Dutch culture.
Riverpoint is a planned mixed-use development on the site of the former Coast Guard headquarters at 2100 Second Street, spearheaded by Western Development, Akridge, Orr Partners, Redbrick LMD LLC and Jefferson Apartment Group. Anticipated uses include apartments, condos, 80,000 SF of retail, and floating restaurants.