Banneker Overlook Site
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The Banneker Overlook site is an eight acre slope at the end of L’Enfant Promenade, an extension of 10th Street, S.W. The site is on a direct axis with the Smithsonian’s Castle Building and reaches down to Maine Avenue and the Washington, D.C. waterfront along Washington Channel, an inlet of the Potomac River. The site has views across the river to Arlington National Cemetery, the Pentagon and National Airport in nearby Virginia. While farther from the National Mall than the other sites, it is a short walk from the L’Enfant Metro stop. The large site also affords an opportunity for the design of an architecturally significant building as well as for developing an inviting landscape.
The site sits at the nexus of a major municipal effort to invigorate the DC waterfront area and to attract visitors from the Mall to the waterfront. While the site sits just across I-395 and is joined to Washington’s core tourist area by a roadway and pedestrian walkway across the busy freeway, there could be an effort to build a lid over the freeway to offer a stronger connection to the two sides of Washington. The lid could incorporate a park and sculpture garden to reflect the themes of the Museum. The proximity to the waterfront could also be used to extend the Museum’s exhibition reach to a pier where boats — actual and replicas — that were used for the migration and immigration to the U.S. are moored for visitors to explore.