Info Hub for Eastern Market Metro Plaza Suffers Design Change – Revision Comes at the Expense of Dramatic Roofline

Catholic University Student's Mutatio Design Was Initially Selected For the Eastern Market Metro Info Hub

The Yellow Rectangle Shows The Future Location of the Infor Hub

New Concept Design for Eastern Market Metro Info Hub

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.

6 Comments

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6 responses to “Info Hub for Eastern Market Metro Plaza Suffers Design Change – Revision Comes at the Expense of Dramatic Roofline

  1. Vernon

    Cost and moveability are both things that could be evaluated during design and before presentation. Looks like another bait and switch for the neighborhood.

  2. Joe

    I would love to see an explanation of how the image we see of the “new concept design” reflects “the ‘theme and curve’ of the canopy over the Metro.” Instead, the new concept looks like the disastrous concession stands near some monuments that are finally being torn down. How is the plaze enhanced by a 1970’s-esque structure. My vote is to add to the “greenness” of the project by not building it at all. Just dig up some bricks and put down more plants.

  3. Kathleen

    What are the cost over-runs specifically? While not horrified by the new design, I don’t much like it either. Considering how much NEIGHBORHOOD PROCESS we went through to select the original design, maybe we can get a better explanation for why it is being shunted aside?

  4. James

    Maybe I’m late to the party, but who determined the need for this “hub” anyway and how did they measure that need? Except for weekends, does the Eastern Market Metro stop get that many tourists who don’t already have a pretty good idea where they’re going?
    Could the same thing have been accomplished with a “You are HERE” sign, showing nearby options, that cost far less and took up less space? Is the Performance Parking cash burning a hole in somebody’s pocket?

  5. I’d really love if we could use some of the money for lights along the 600 block of Pennsylvania Av SE. It is really dark on that block at night! It would be wonderful to be able to extend the cute historical lighting and create the same feel as Barracks Row or Market Row. And I’m still not sure why we can’t just fix the rules so that we can put up cute little signs with arrows showing the way to specific retail and restaurants. There has to be a safe, cost effective way to do this. Olde Town Alexandria does it.

  6. CC

    Gross. More blocky glass and concrete that we will regret immediately much like the Carrollsburg/Tiber Island/former Waterfront Mall complexes.