Info Hub for Eastern Market Metro Plaza Suffers Design Change – Revision Comes at the Expense of Dramatic Roofline
by Larry Janezich
At last Tuesday night’s Restoration Society Board Meeting, Board member Chuck Burger told his colleagues that the design of the Info Hub scheduled to be constructed on EM Metro Plaza would be altered because of budget, flexibility, and movability issues. Burger also represents the ad hoc group of “Sign Tigers” which conceived of an information kiosk on the Plaza to promote food and retail services and the historic district. The group, with others, convinced the Department of Transportation to fund the project with funding provided to the community through the Performance Parking Plan.
Catholic University Architectural School was enlisted to hold a student design competition for the project and earlier this spring, a design was selected from 28 entries and a winner announced. (See emmcablog, March 16, 2011).
In addition to a cost limitation, a design requirement which had to be met was movability. Burger said that a closer examination of the design showed that it was more difficult to move than previously thought and that construction would exceed the $180,000 budget. Burger also said that proponents realized that by eliminating the swooping roofline and flattening the roof, they could gain 180 square feet of useable floor space. Burger said, “[t]he foot print will be the same but the space will be used better.“ The new roof, according the Burger, will reflect the “theme and curve” of the canopy over the Metro. In addition, a grass roof is being considered to add to the “greenness” of the project.
In addition to the $180,000 for the info hub, DOT is expected to provide an additional $100,000 from the Performance Parking Fund for landscaping the Plaza, a project being pushed by ANC6B Commissioner Ivan Frishberg. The plan anticipates what Burger called “landscape rehabilitation” for the Plaza, with $25,000 of the amount being used for a Plaza irrigation system. The balance would be used for relocation of the bike racks closer to the Info Hub, establishment of a rain garden, framing in the planting beds to keep out foot traffic, construction of walls and seating, and plantings. .
The kiosk will be staffed by volunteers. Its annual operating budget of up to $15,000 will come from a foundation which has been set up by CHAMPS – the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce.
Burger anticipates a November date for the launch of campaign to raise $50,000 in pledges over three years to guarantee the annual operating funds – a stipulation insisted on by the city before the project can move forward.