diller scofidio + renfro hirshhorn museum bubble nixed
original content
jun 18, 2013
diller scofidio + renfro hirshhorn museum bubble nixed


diller scofidio + renfro hirshhorn museum bubble nixed

image © diller scofidio + renfro

 

 

 

update:

we have updated our december 12, 2009 article to reflect the recent announcement that the smithsonian will not proceed with the construction of the hirshhorn museum‘s seasonal inflatable extension, designed by new york studio diller scofidio + renfro. colloquially known as ‘the bubble,’ the structure was supposed to reframe the plaza and create a venue for two months of programming devoted to art and culture. the project was nixed on the heels of the resignation of hirshhorn director richard koshalek. reportedly, the decision to suspend the project was made due to a lack of support from the museum’s board and financial uncertainty regarding the fabrication of the bubble as well as a lack of viable plan for the operation of the inflatable building. construction and a two year installation were set to cost the museum 12.5 million USD– a price tag that did not factor in the variable costs of planning and design. thus far 7.8 million USD can been raised or committed, including a 1 million USD commitment from new york mayor michael bloomberg. 

 

 

 

diller scofidio + renfro is responsible for the design proposal of a 145 foot tall inflatable meeting hall which richard kohsalek, the director of the hirshhorn museum and sculpture garden, plans to erect at the cultural institution. the large translucent fabric ‘bubble’ will swell out of the top the museum’s internal court yard, creating an air of lightness, making the building seem as if it were ready to float upwards into the sky.the balloon-like form will be stabilized by a gigantic tube of water, encircling the interior structure. a series of large steel cables tethered to the inner tube on one end and the roof-level truss at the other end, will provide structural support to hold it in place. these cables will wrap around several times pushing the structure through the core of the museum.
 

 

the smithsonian will remain without the inflatable architecture

image © diller scofidio + renfro

 

 

temporary exhibition spaces would have enlivened the museum

image © diller scofidio + renfro

 

 

interior voids were to be reframed accordingly

image © diller scofidio + renfro

 

 

the structure would be installed twice a year, in may and october and would cost about 5 million USD,which is a relatively small amount for a museum expansion. the design is extremely flexible – it can be blown up in a short time, and the interior can be easily reconfigured with each installation,allowing the museum to respond to cultural issues of the moment in a timely manner. the design proposal still needs to be refined, but from the exterior, visitors will be able to enter the balloon via a short, tube-shaped corridor located between the museum’s lounge and central courtyard.the translucent blue skin of the lounge will progressively become more transparent at its base so that visitors are able to peer into the mall. the inner tube anchoring the lounge will also serve as a bench for resting and socializing.
in contrast to the whimsical bulb, the main hall will be a more formal space, housing 1000 guests in a semi-circular pattern around a temporary stage. this will be built over the courtyard’s off-center fountain. here, transparent areas in the fabric will give visitors views of patrons who are visiting the galleries above. as the courtyard is a four-storey tall void, diller scofidio + renfro is considering an addition of one or two levels of balcony space to the hall to take advantage of this open area.

 

 

aerial view into the proposed theater 

image © diller scofidio + renfro

 

 

view of the seasonal programming of the plaza spaces

image © diller scofidio + renfro

 

 

night view of the national mall with the bubble peering over the top of the museum to the right

image © diller scofidio + renfro

 

 

an earlier conceptual rendering of the museum and addition

image © diller scofidio + renfro

 

 

model view

image © diller scofidio + renfro

 

 

the model deomstrates the exact reach of the inflatable addition

image © diller scofidio + renfro

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