A panel overseeing architecture in the nation's capital has approved a temporary, bubble-like addition for the Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum on the National Mall.
Earl A. Powell, chairman of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, said Thursday the museum could "go forth and inflate."
Museum director Richard Koshalek wants to create a special performance space to discuss cultural issues. It would be inflated twice each year. He says museums need to boldly redefine their roles.
Architect Elizabeth Diller says she started with an inflated plastic bag to create the look of a glowing balloon atop the museum.
The commission praised the concept as "exciting" and raised no objections. Museum planners still must win approval from the National Capital Planning Commission next month.
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