Pennsylvania Avenue West Streetscape

Congratulations to VHB on their Honor award in the Design-Unbuilt category for the Pennsylvania Avenue West Streetscape, Washington, DC.

Pennsylvania Avenue, America’s Main Street, is known globally as an iconic boulevard and backdrop for some of America’s most consequential places and events from inaugurations to civic protests. However, Penn Ave is more than what is seen on TV.

Penn Ave West, the focus of this project, stretches from the White House to Washington Circle and is an international hub of finance and humanitarian Organizations (International Monetary Fund, World Bank, United Nations, and others). While Penn Ave East from the White House to the Capitol is recognized worldwide, Penn Ave West lacks a defining character. Working as a collaborative team, urban designers, landscape architects, horticulturalists, and engineers built a vision for the corridor that re-imagines the public realm to support all users—walkers/rollers, cyclists and scooters, transit, and vehicles. The design reclaims acres of roadway and impervious surface and returns those uses to foster sustainability, an enriched civic life, and enhanced mobility and safety. With significant public input, this project highlights how changes to infrastructure can result in changes to quality of life. The project breathes life back into the vision of America’s Main Street that reflects its inhabitants’ ambitions for the world.

This very thoughtful project simultaneously promotes inclusivity, community engagement, and sustainability. The jury acclaimed this “great solution for a challenging site and corridor,” providing “great context for an important piece of infrastructure.”