Alethia Tanner Park

Alethia Tanner Park

Date: 2018 – 2020
Area: 87,123 ft² / 8.093 m²

Studio Twenty Seven Architecture joined Nelson Byrd Woltz in designing a two acre park in the NoMA neighborhood of Washington, DC. The park is next to the historic Eckington neighborhood, along the Metropolitan Branch Trail (MBT), between two Metro Red Line stops. The park includes an expansive green space for informal recreation, a playground to serve children from toddlers to teens, a dog park, gardens, a bio-remediation meadow, plaza areas, flexible seating areas and connections to an improved Metropolitan Branch Trail. Studio Twenty Seven Architecture designed the cafe and canopy pavilion, as well as the stage armature which supports a large projection screen for summer events.





All photos copyright Allen Russ Photography



Formerly a fenced-off field, this two-acre plot of land, next to the Metropolitan Branch Trail just north of the New York Avenue Bridge in Washington, DC, is an unexpectedly quiet reprieve from the hustle and bustle of its surrounding neighborhood. Named after the formerly enslaved woman who helped open the District’s first school for Black children in 1807, the Bell School, the Alethia Tanner Park, is public once again.










Historically, the site was a rail yard for trains traveling between Washington, DC, Baltimore, and beyond. The park’s design reflects the energy of the site’s previous eras while providing diverse recreational spaces, amenities, and access to nature for current and future neighbors. Due to its former industrial use, remediation of site soils was necessary. It provided an opportunity to educate visitors on various strategies for cleaning the soil, including phytoremediation – using plants in situ – to remove, remedy, or contain contaminants in soils.




























The park is named after Alethia Tanner, a leader in the African American community of the District of Columbia in the early 1800s. Formerly enslaved, Alethia bought her freedom and that of at least eighteen others by saving profits from selling vegetables at a market across from the White House. She was a businesswoman, owned real estate, and sponsored education and religious institutions for the black community in Washington, D.C.