- The Washington Times - Friday, December 18, 2009

The Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C., wants to add to the building a temporary, inflatable bubble that squeezes through its rooftop — a modern concept in a city known worldwide for its classical architecture.

Officials for the contemporary-art museum, on the National Mall between Capitol Hill and the Washington Monument, want to use the translucent, fabric structure twice a year to hold special events.

In its current design, the section inside the building would include hundreds of seats, a temporary stage and a view of other visitors inside the multileveled, drum-shaped museum.

The smaller, bottom end emerges from the building’s ground level and into the adjacent Sculpture Garden.

The design for the 145-foot-tall bubble was created by the New York firm Diller Scofidio & Renfro, which recently complete the popular High Line project — a 1.45-mile long park built on an elevated freight line on Manhattan’s lower west side.

Though the bubble would be a temporary structure, the project still must win federal approval.

Officials for the 35-year-old museum — part of the Smithsonian Institution — are scheduled Friday to go before the National Capital Planning Commission.

Museum spokesman Gabriel Riera said Thursday calling the bubble a temporary structure was not an attempt to avoid oversight.

“We going to get whatever blessing and approval from whomever we need to get approval from,” he said.

He cautioned the reportedly $5 million project was still in “concept phase” but said he will be “thrilled” if it gets approved.

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