Plans for a 9-foot square, 16-foot high information Kiosk on the plaza under construction at 14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue were sent back to the drawing board for a second time after an hour of impassioned, occasionally angry discussion during a recent meeting of the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC).
The Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation (PADC) presented plans for a granite Kiosk with aluminum windows set in stainless steel frames, but the NCPC staff found the design "awkward," the materials "not of the standard required in this important site," and the whole effect insuffciently festive. The kiosk will provide information about cultural and recreational activities.
"I wanted something light and airy and fun, rather than a federal building," said NCPC Chairman David Childs.
"It's turning out to be a federal cause," replied PADC official Charles Guelli. He added that he did not think the structure should "stand out."
"If it's going to magnetize people, it's got to stand out," said commission member James O. Gibson.
"It's too cold, and it should be more fun," said Childs. But when Guelli said disapproval of the plan would "severely impact" PADC's construction schedule for the avenue, Childs said he would go along with the kiosk design.
"It will be a monument to the approval process," said Childs, adding that "the smaller the project, the longer we talk about it."
The commission, however, voted to ask PADC to revise the plans again and to submit the revised plans, along with design suggestions made by the NCPC staff, to the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA).
At a previous NCPC meeting, the commission had asked PADC to revise plans for the kiosk, eliminating rolldown security screens, and to have the revised design reviewed by CFA. The Commission of Fine Arts approved the revised designs on Sept. 20.
"We can't revoke our approval, but if PADC submits another design we'll consider it again," said a CFA spokesman.
Any design approved by CFA will eventually have to be considered by NCPC again.
"We have not approved it," said an NCPC spokesman. "It may not be constructed without our approval. If PADC goes ahead with it without our approval, they'll be breaking the law."