The $35 million renovation of the National Press Building will be kicked off today with a speech by Mayor Marion Barry, a concert by the Cardozo High School band and the usual hype of, by and for the media.

The 54-year old press building is scheduled to get a "total renovation, down to the steel," said Bill Hickman, who, as president-designee of the National Press Building Corp., will oversee the 28- to 34-month project.

Architects are HTB Inc., an Oklahoma City firm.

The three lower levels--one flight up and down from the present 14th Street entrance--will be turned into a tiered shopping arcade that flows into similar space in the new building Quadrangle Development Corp. is putting up to the east and to the new J. Willard Marriott Hotel being built to the south.

The Quadrangle-Press Building interior mall will have about 170,000 square feet of retail space, all managed by The Rouse Co. of Columbia.

To link with the Quadrangle project, the building will be extended eastward by 15 feet. Parking for 150 cars will be available into the basement.

Atop 10 floors of offices will be an expanded National Press Club, occupying all of two floors that now include some office space. The interior airshaft that now starts at the 7th floor will be dropped down to ground level and topped with a glass roof to become a 14-story atrium. New glass elevators will be added inside the atrium.

Completing the rest of the job, Hickman explained, "will be sort of like a Rubik's cube." Starting with the north (F Street) and west (14th Street) sides of the building, the upper seven floors will be completely rebuilt. Then the east and south sides of the upper floors will be done.

The fourth phase, remodeling of the lower floors, will complete the project. The archway on the F Street side that was once the entry to the old Fox, later the Capitol, theater, will be retained; the present 14th street entry stays and a new entry will be built at the corner of 14th and F. All the entrances will lead into the three-level shopping complex. The club will remain open with sometimes-curtailed facilities.

Turner Construction of New York is the General Contractor. The Press Building Corporation--an entity separate from but related to the Press Club--has obtained construction financing from Bank of America. A $50 million mortgage that will pay off the $35 million construction bill, development costs and old loans has been arranged from the New York State Employees' Pension Fund.