The Anthem

Finalist 2018

The Anthem, a music and performing arts cultural center, is embedded within a building that has residential units above and retail and restaurants/bars around it. In addition to live music, The Anthem will also be home to conventions, art shows, seminars, banquets and fashion shows.

The design of The Anthem evokes the industrial character of this historic region and creates an entry presence on the waterfront of the Potomac inspired by its location. Four 60-foot-tall board-formed concrete pylons framing a glass cube-shaped lobby mark the striking entry to The Anthem. The glass façade serves to diminish the boundary between the inside and outside, connecting the building to its natural and built environment.

The majestic three-story lobby has a marquee balcony extending beyond the adjacent building façade and overlooking the water’s edge, offering sweeping views up and down The Wharf. The balcony features a railing comprised of a pixelated water-jet cut metal pattern evoking traditional bunting—signaling an aesthetic that plays on the tough industrial character of the original Southwest waterfront.

The marquee’s face announces the theater’s name in bold 3D letters. Exposed steel structure, end-grain wood and pigmented concrete floors, reclaimed brick feature walls, metal mesh acoustical walls and weathered steel screen walls compose the interior materials palette of The Anthem—combining to create an authentic space and backdrop for various performance events.

A grand wooden stair connects each level of the theater. Overlooking the main floor level and stage are a series of angular seating trays positioned over two balcony levels. Adjustable, circular LED chandeliers can be raised and lowered to change the scale of the room according to the event. Bars surrounding the central floor feature reclaimed brick surrounds, cascade coil metal drapery, reclaimed wood bar dies, antique mirrors and rusted metal perforated panels.

Design Firms: 

Rockwell Group


Hoffman-Madison Waterfront

Project Area: 

57,000 sq ft

Open Date: 

October 2017

Photo Credits: 

Albert Vecerka (photography)

Design Team: 

David Rockwell, Shawn Sullivan, Michael Fisher, Linda Casper, Kristina Zahakos


Fisher Dachs Associates, Akustiks, IMP, Bliss Fasman, Perkins Eastman


Bunting Architectural Metals, Jefferson Millwork and Design, Berlin Steel, Irwin Seating Company, Pilkington, KONE, MBI Products

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