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Viñoly's Kennedy Center Plaza in D.C. on Hold

Image Courtesy Rafael Viñoly Architects

Cuts in the recently-passed federal transportation bill have detoured plans for a new John F. Kennedy Center Plaza in Washington D.C., designed by Rafael Viñoly, FAIA. The $650 million project would create a four-block sweeping pedestrian plaza lined with pools, flanked by two new glass-and-steel buildings which would be built over existing roadways. One building would house rehearsal and office space, the other an educational center for the performing arts and interactive displays.

The project was counting on $400 million from the reauthorization of the federal highway and transit bill. But lawmakers eliminated plaza funds due to budget constraints, prompting center officials to shelve the project indefinitely. “We are hopeful that Congress will, at a later date, be able to fund the Plaza Project,” said Michael M. Kaiser, Kennedy Center president, in a statement.

The Kennedy Center Plaza is the third high-profile Washington project to suffer a setback this year following the Corcoran Gallery of Art's cancellation of a Frank Gehry addition and the National Capital Planning Commission's rejection of Sir Norman Foster's glass canopy design for the Old Patent Office Building courtyard.

Tony Illia