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Cracking the Sarcophagus

The Architect’s Newspaper, March 7, 2013

Following last year’s National Mall Design Competition, which awarded plans to restore the ecology of the Mall and nestle a grass-roofed pavilion into its turf, landscape urbanism has chalked up another win in Washington.

This time, however, there’s a starchitect name attached, as well as $50 million in private money.

On January 29, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced that it had selected Steven Holl Architects to design a $100 million, 60,000-square-foot expansion, the first in the Center’s history. Holl’s initial concept calls for three pavilions set in public gardens that will slope down to the Potomac River. One pavilion will be a floating stage on the Potomac River, if Holl and the center secure approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The expansion spaces will connect with the main building underground, in an echo of Holl’s lauded 2007 addition to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City.

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