Prince George's County, MD

American Way

Art Activated Retail Street

status

Completed 2016

client

The Peterson Companies

expertise

Public Realm + Open Space

services

Landscape Architecture, Urban Design

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An Experiential Promenade Generates Cherished Memories

A series of interactive outdoor art galleries transform National Harbor’s landmark retail street, American Way, into a must-see destination where visitors come face-to-face with American icons.

American Way is the central pedestrian promenade at National Harbor, Peterson Companies’ 300-acre mixed use waterfront development in Prince George’s County, Maryland. Running east-west through the heart of National Harbor, this 3,000-foot linear boulevard connects the Potomac River waterfront and mixed use offerings at the western end of the development with the residential neighborhoods to the east, creating a continuous walkable experience that extends waterfront views throughout the development.

At 100-feet wide, this pedestrian-oriented street is characterized by its narrow one-way traffic lanes running on either side of a tree-lined, 30-foot wide central median. Inspired by Barcelona’s famous shopping street, Las Ramblas, American Way acts as an urban plaza surrounded by restaurants and shops, creating a signature public space within National Harbor for residents and visitors to stroll, shop, and linger.

Seeking to draw visitors from the Waterfront District to the retail and restaurant offerings further from the water, Peterson Companies contracted LandDesign to further activate this public space and solidify the space’s identity. LandDesign led the repositioning of American Way, weaving art, activation, and opportunities for memorable experiences throughout the promenade.

Our Vision

Craft a Unique Sense of Place that is Experiential and Imbued with Meaning

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Leaning on National Harbor’s distinctive nautical identity, timeless brand, and vibrant collection of public art, LandDesign underwent a visioning process to craft a unique sense of place for American Way. The outcome was a series of interactive outdoor art galleries that reinforce the street’s namesake, showcasing the American ethos. Each gallery embodies the American Spirit through the thoughtful orchestration of prominent historical figures, providing visitors the unique opportunity to engage and interact with to-scale sculptures of the individuals who defined American culture and values. Activated by large-scale art, retail kiosks and outdoor dining, the repositioned American Way has become a must-see landmark within National Harbor, where residents and visitors capture memories and experience live performances as they stroll.

The Challenge

Draw Visitors Away from the Waterfront to the Center of Development

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Seeking to increase foot traffic at the shops along American Way, LandDesign repositioned this public space into an experiential promenade that could compete with the views and attractions at the waterfront. To improve visibility, LandDesign proposed the removal of a large kiosk that was previously located at the corner of American Way at Waterfront Street, interrupting the view of the river. Then, large-scale artwork was strategically placed at this corner, creating a branding opportunity for the development and an iconic photo-op moment that draws visitors in and invites them to explore the retail and restaurant offerings.

Our Approach

Connect American Way to the Broader Development both Visually and Through Branding

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Physical

Extend water views through American Way by opening up the narrow space with tall plantings and large-scale artwork.

Functional

Strategically place art, lighting, plantings, and site furniture throughout the promenade, drawing visitors in and enticing them to explore the retailers further from the water.

Social

Encourage engagement through art, crafting a unique experience that brings American history to life while creating cherished memories for visitors.

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Physical

Extend water views through American Way by opening up the narrow space with tall plantings and large-scale artwork.

Homepage Header

Functional

Strategically place art, lighting, plantings, and site furniture throughout the promenade, drawing visitors in and enticing them to explore the retailers further from the water.

Homepage Header

Social

Encourage engagement through art, crafting a unique experience that brings American history to life while creating cherished memories for visitors.

Community Created Through Story

American Way at National Harbor immerses visitors in a physical history lesson through engagement with life-size iconic figures of America’s past that are spread throughout the streetscape, sharing their unique story of change.

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