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Innovative? (U.S.-China Capital Cities Friendship Council)

Holy bejeezus. Mike Neibauer reports in today’s BizJo that Alfred Liu, president of AEPA Architects Engineers P.C., is pitching a 1.7-million square foot “Washington Global Trade Center” that would sit over the I-395 freeway between K Street and New York Avenue. The office building, meant primarily for foreign enterprises seeking to do business in the U.S., would be nested in a gigantic globe split longitudinally on either side.

Decking over the highway wouldn’t be a problem. The city generally favors making use of those air rights, as with Louis Dreyfus Property Group’s planned “Return to L’Enfant” project to the south.

The issue would come in convincing D.C.’s various review bodies to get on board something that looks like it belongs in Dubai, not the architecturally stodgy capital of the United States. Liu’s most prominent work in D.C. is the Wah Luck House at 6th and H NW, which is no shining example of enlightened design, and his pagoda-ed proposal for an international trade center above the Gallery Place Metro stop lost out to Herb Miller‘s (most of his clients are in China). I predict this latest outlandish idea will probably end up fairly quickly in the Unbuilt Washington exhibit. (Correction: This post originally said the Wah Luck House was at 4th and H, not 6th and H.)

But if Liu can come up with the money and the foreign investment he promises, the city would be wise not to disregard it so quickly—-it’s capital and guts that the city can’t afford to brush off.