The fate of the “Bubble,” the seasonal inflatable structure that was supposed to rise from the top of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden to create a culturally and architecturally transformative space, is up in the air.
The 145-foot-tall structure that was to house performances and cultural dialogues has been a signature project of museum director Richard Koshalek, who arrived at the Hirshhorn in 2009 and announced the project to great fanfare the same year. But the timetable has been pushed back for a second time, and construction costs, originally estimated at $5 million, have escalated to around $15.5 million, said Smithsonian officials. They now say the Bubble will not go up until 2014, if it does at all.
“I truly understand the complexity of all this,” Koshalek said in an interview with The Washington Post. He calls the project essential to the future of the Hirshhorn. “I also know that in the world of proposing ideas like this, there are unbuilt projects. We could get to that point where this could get unbuilt.”