Hirshhorn Bubble Update

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This February, when the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts reviewed the Hirshhorn Museum's plan to create a seasonal, bubble-like pavilion in its courtyard, the organization's chairman Earl A. Powell encouraged the museum to "go forth and inflate."

Now, the National Capital Planning Commission, a 12-member group that decides the fate of proposed architecture in the Washington, D.C. area, adds its support. "The semiannual transformation of the museum's central courtyard will create an exciting and unanticipated attraction along the National Mall," wrote Marcel C. Acosta, executive director of NCPC, in his recommendation.

Unanticipated, for sure. The 122-foot tall globular auditorium, which looks like something you might see in a Ghostbusters movie, will balloon through the whole of the donut-shaped museum and be a sight to see from all vantage points along the National Mall. The Hirshhorn envisions using the space during the year's warmer months from May to October to host conferences and promote the discussion and exchange of ideas.

The estimated cost for the initial construction of the pavilion is $5 million, with additional expenses expected for its biannual installation and storage. The NCPC did recommend that the museum continue to work with the architectural firm, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, on two possible designs before making the final decision.

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