Posts tagged with "National Building Museum":

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Rockwell Group plants an indoor lawn in the National Building Museum

The 2019 Summer Block Party installation at the National Building Museum has been revealed, and the LAB at Rockwell Group will install a faux indoor “lawn” in the great hall of the Washington, D.C., museum. Lawn will run from July 4 through September 2, and visitors can expect to find a facsimile of a park within. Rockwell Group has attempted to recreate an all-American summer inside the museum via a series of high-tech interventions, and the installation of an elevated (artificial) lawn that gradually rises on scaffolding. Visitors to Lawn can scale an inclined slope to the lawn, which will feature a number of communal areas and hammocks suspended from the 100-foot-tall ceiling. From that elevated vantage point, guests can gaze down at the pixelated sky pattern made of tile on the floor of the reception area below. At the very top of the lawn will be a scaffolding tower that will rise to the museum’s third floor and will offer views of the sculptural busts on the roof. Every hammock will be embedded with hidden speakers and that will play summertime stories from “prominent American storytellers,” according to Rockwell Group. Instead of catching real fireflies, LAB has designed an augmented reality experience where guests can chase and “catch” fireflies across the lawn using their phones. Rockwell Group appears to have taken a cue from last year’s Fun House installation from Snarkitecture, as the entire experience seems eminently Instagrammable. Bold colors, a stark delineation of programming, and the commodification of a shared, common experience have been successfully deployed across a number of pop-up museums and experience spaces. The titular lawn itself, while fake, was produced by SynLawn and will be totally recycled after the exhibition is taken down. The faux-grass is made from sugarcane, while the backing comes from soybeans. The scaffolding will be disassembled and used elsewhere as well. Admission to Lawn is included in the price of a National Building Museum ticket, and the museum will be activating the space at night to host movie screenings, yoga, and meditation classes, among other events.
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National Building Museum receives gift of tiny souvenirs

From precious lockets concealing portraits of distant lovers to souvenir Statue of Liberty pencil sharpeners, miniatures have long been associated with memory. More potent than postcards or photographs, there’s a weight—real and figurative—to novelty architectural objects that you can hold in the palm of your hand and proudly display on your bookshelf or mantle—perhaps as a welcome reminder, after a long day of corporate drudgery, that you were once someplace genuinely spectacular. The National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., recently announced the donation of more than 3,000 of these tiny totems from the collection of architect David Weingarten. The 20th Century Souvenir Buildings Collection represents more than 40 years of travel across 60 countries. What prompted Weingarten’s passion for collection? His first object, a miniature version of the Speyer Cathedral, was purchased in 1976 during a trip to Germany with his uncle, the architect Charles Moore who was known for his appreciation of place and memory. Moore purchased a larger representation of the cathedral, and both objects are now part of the Building Musem’s permanent collection. In addition to historic cathedrals, the collection includes anonymous American banks—perhaps given away with a free checking account—and iconic landmarks like the Tower of Pisa. Many of these souvenirs are solid casts made from metal, wax, or rubber; others conceal unexpected functions, like the Tower of Pisa lipstick case, which houses a striking red shade that promises to make your lips look leaner as you wistfully recall that magical summer in Tuscany. “Among the surprising truths of souvenir buildings is that they almost never cause us to recall just buildings,” said Weingarten in a statement. “Rather, we think of the place and its setting, ourselves and those with whom we visited, of the day or night, the time of year, moments momentous and everyday—that universe of reflection we associate with memorable places. Inevitably and ironically, for each of us, the identical souvenir building arouses extravagantly varied reminiscences.” Items from the collection are already on display at the National Building Museum, inviting visitors to recall their own “moments momentous and everyday,” and perhaps this collection will inspire others to go someplace genuinely spectacular.
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National Building Museum names designer for its 2019 Summer Block Party installation

The weather outside may be dropping to sub-zero temperatures across much of the U.S., but the National Building Museum is already looking to summer. The Washington, D.C.–based museum announced today that the LAB at Rockwell Group, the firm’s cross-disciplinary, technology-oriented experience design studio, will be designing the 2019 Summer Block Party installation. This year, from July 4 through September 2, The Lawn will take over the great hall of the National Building Museum. While no design details have been released yet, it’s likely that The Lawn will be just as immersive as the past installations in the space. Last year’s Funhouse from Snarkitecture brought back the firm's popular Beach exhibition from 2015, and 2017’s towering Hive from Studio Gang used the hall’s 75-foot-high ceilings as an opportunity to build vertically. The Lawn will be supplemented with relevant programs and events throughout its run. This isn’t the first time the Rockwell Group has exhibited in the National Building Museum; its PLAY WORK BUILD installation in 2012 highlighted the links between design, play, and “the work of building professionals.”
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National Building Museum makes lecture series free for students

The National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., announced today that it is making itself more accessible to students in the profession. Its "Spotlight on Design" lecture series, which comprises eight-to-ten talks a year by leaders in the field, will now be free for students. Tickets to the lectures will still be $12 for museum members and $20 for non-members. In the past, the series has hosted luminaries like Tadao Ando, Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas, Jeanne Gang, and Laurie Olin. This year's lineup has yet to be completely announced, but Brad Cloepfil of Allied Works, designer of the recently-completed National Veterans Memorial and Museum, will present on Thursday, March 7, and Adam Greenspan of PWP Landscape Architecture, designer of the grounds at the Glenstone Museum, will talk on Tuesday, April 9. The series will kick off with a presentation from partners at ZGF ARCHITECTS on Monday, January 28. In a statement, Chase Rynd, executive director of the National Building Museum, said, “We are so pleased to be expanding access to our signature public program. We hope that by introducing young talent to noted practitioners in the field and a wide variety of approaches to the design process will only inspire them in their own careers.” More information is available on the museum's website.
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National Building Museum will showcase basketball courts around the world

Just in time for March Madness, the National Building Museum is set to present a photo series documenting private and community basketball courts across the country and abroad. HOOPS, opening on March 9, 2019, will showcase the work of photographer Bill Bamberger and a selection of shots from his 14-year journey searching for one-of-a-kind courts. Each of Bamberger’s “court portraits” is devoid of people, allowing the viewer to focus on the court’s surrounding context and basketball’s enduring appeal no matter where the game is played. The large-format color photographs show scenes from Arizona to Appalachia, Mexico, and South Africa, and reveal the unique ways in which courts are designed and constructed to tell the story of a particular community. Bamberger began the series in 2004 and has since taken nearly 22,000 photographs of courts worldwide. “I never photographed the players, finding that the ‘place’ spoke loudly about its users,” he said in a statement. “I could easily imagine the players, and in some cases I met them. But more often in the stillness of the court—photographed in early morning or late afternoon light—I came to know a great deal about a community, its character, and values.” HOOPS will be on view at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., through January 5, 2020.
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National Building Museum chronicles Baltimore's urban history through movie theaters

A new exhibition at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., chronicles the stunning and somewhat sad history of cinema houses in America’s Charm City. Flickering Treasures: Rediscovering Baltimore’s Forgotten Movie Theaters opens tomorrow, November 17, showcasing the work of award-winning Baltimore Sun photographer Amy Davis. The show is based on Davis’s year-old book of the same name, which features 72 Baltimore buildings photographed from 1896 to today. Collected over a decade, her colorful documentary photography pits the current state of these once-opulent downtown theaters and modest neighborhood cinema houses with vintage black-and-white photos of the structures in their heyday. Curator Deborah Sorensen worked with Davis to collect over 100 architectural fragments and pieces of theater ephemera to populate the exhibition, each adding a layer of tangibility to the buildings detailed in the book. Along with these elements, personal stories unveiled through text illuminate both the local story of Baltimore’s own 20th-century urbanization, segregation, and suburban sprawl, as well as the national trends in theater design and the ever-evolving movie-going experience. “Baltimore was already a mid-size city at the turn-of-the-century,” said Sorensen. “As a case study, it mirrors the development of the film industry and how it shaped cities across America. Movie palaces were being built to reflect local civic pride and the power of movies. If you look at when cities really started booming, it’s when these structures were coming online.” Davis’s photographs not only unveil the architectural history of movie theaters, but track these shifts in local population, land use, and urban history in Baltimore. In the early 1900s, famous architects were called upon to design grand cinema houses for downtown commercial districts. Many sported shiny, stand-out marquees and seated up to 2,000 people. Post-World War II, the city had 119 theaters of varying sizes and designs, but due to the introduction of television and mega-malls, the way people consumed films dramatically changed, as well as the way theaters were constructed. Davis conducted 300 interviews with movie exhibitors, theater employees, property owners, and filmgoers to get at the heart of these theaters and their surrounding locales. She photographed the buildings as they stand today—some revitalized as performing arts centers, churches, or concert venues, others still derelict and falling apart, and some completely demolished. Their successful, or in some cases poor, evolutions point to local investment in preservation and development over time. “We’re looking at the rise of movie-going and the decline of downtowns through the lens of this particular place,” said Sorenson. “It’s a reality that many American cities have faced and are trying to recover from."  Since the first movie theater opened its doors in the late 19th century, Baltimore has been home to a total of 240 cinemas. Today, it has only five functioning theaters, not including the homogenous AMC or Regal theaters common today. Two outstanding examples include the legendary Hippodrome, built in 1914, and Parkway, built in 1915. Both came back to life after multi-million dollar restoration and expansion projects. Not all movie theaters across the country have been so lucky. Flickering Treasures gives visitors an in-depth look at Baltimore’s former movie palaces and neighborhood film houses, as well as notable architects and industry entrepreneurs through poignant case studies and enlightening biographies. With photographs of rarely-seen interiors and much-need information on the history of these unique facades, Davis shines a spotlight on over a century of change in one American city. Flickering Treasures is open through October 14, 2019. For a sneak peek of the show, visit Davis's Flickering Treasures on Facebook.
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Architecture critics Inga Saffron and Robert Campbell receive the 2018 Vincent Scully Prize

Inga Saffron of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Robert Campbell of the Boston Globe are the recipients of the 2018 Vincent Scully Prize. Awarded annually by the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., the prize honors design professionals who have shown excellence in practice, scholarship, or criticism in the field. This year’s winners—both Pulitzer Prize–winning journalists—are admired for their commitment to providing insightful critiques of the built environment. The Vincent Scully Prize was established in 1999 and first awarded to Yale University professor Vincent Scully, who died last December. Past recipients include Jane Jacobs, His Royal Highness Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, the late Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, Paul Goldberger, Robert A.M. Stern, and more. Landscape architect Laurie Olin was given last year’s prize. The National Building Museum will hold a public award ceremony for Campbell and Saffron on Monday, October 29 with a conversation moderated by The Chicago Tribune’s Blair Kamin.
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Snarkitecture brings their indoor beach back to D.C., along with a few new surprises

The beach balls are back, and they’ve been joined by Kith sneakers, Dig, Playhouse, and Light Cavern. They’re all part of Fun House, the new Summer Block Party exhibit that opened July 4 at the National Building Museum in Washington, D. C., and runs through Labor Day.

The show is a retrospective of the work of Snarkitecture, a 10-year-old design collaborative known for its playful approach to art and architecture. The opening marks a return engagement for the firm, which also created the museum’s popular 2015 summer exhibit, The Beach, which featured nearly one million translucent beach balls.

The exhibit’s centerpiece is a freestanding white house that has been constructed in the museum’s Great Hall. It serves as a framework for a series of environments and objects that Snarkitecture has created over the years, including settings for the Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York, Design Miami in Florida, and the Exhibit Columbus design biennial in Columbus, Indiana.

In the back is a kidney-shaped swimming pool filled with the same plastic balls that Snarkitecture used for its Beach exhibit.

Founded in 2008, the New York-based collaborative is headed by Alex Mustonen, Daniel Arsham, and Benjamin Porto. The Fun House exhibit was curated by Maria Cristina Didero, who also wrote the foreword to the 2018 Phaidon monograph, Snarkitecture.

According to Mustonen, this is the first comprehensive museum exhibit for Snarkitecture, and it brings together many of the environments and objects its partners have created over the past decade. Separately, the different rooms and spaces are playfully engaging environments for children and adults. Together, they tell a story about the partners’ idiosyncratic approach to interpreting the built environment.

Mustonen said he didn’t think of the exhibit so much as a 'greatest hits' collection but as an opportunity to show how the designers think about the world. He said the group has completed dozens of installations in separate locations, and this is the first time they have been put together to create one immersive experience.

“One of the priorities of Snarkitecture is to make architecture perform in unexpected ways,” Mustonen said. “We are excited that everyone is going to be able to tour the Fun House and explore the wide array of Snarkitecture projects.”

A house was created to provide the framework for many of the installations because of the symbolic value and iconography of the house in the field of architecture, explained Didero, the curator.

“A house is the first thing most children learn to draw spontaneously, adding a triangle to a rectangular shape,” Didero said. For Fun House, the designers reimagined the conventional structure as a way of conveying Snarkitecture’s “unconventional theoretical journey” during its first ten years, she said.

Many of the objects and spaces are rendered in white as a way to encourage viewers to focus on the objects themselves, the designers said.

“A lot of our work is about reduction,” explained Arsham. “By removing color, you can concentrate on the form.”

Besides the pool filled with plastic balls, the exhibit includes environments such as Dig, from a 2011 Storefront for Art and Architecture installation about excavation, and Drift, from Design Miami in 2012.

There’s a ceiling-level display of Jordan One sneakers that recalls the stores Snarkitecture created for Kith, a bubble bath from Design Miami, Light Cavern, commissioned by COS for Salone del Mobile in Milan, and Playhouse, a kid-friendly structure from Exhibit Columbus.

“Everything you’ll see has an element of surprise, something that makes you see…in a whole new way,” observed Chase Rynd, the museum’s executive director. “Nothing is as it seems.”

Snarkitecture takes its name from the Lewis Carroll poem The Hunting of the Snark, which Mustonen says describes an “impossible voyage of an improbable crew to find an inconceivable creature.”

This is the fifth year for the museum’s Summer Block Party, which has featured the work of the Bjarke Ingels Group (The BIG Maze, 2014), James Corner Field Operations, (ICEBERGS, 2016), and Studio Gang (Hive, 2017.)

Mustonen said his firm hopes to take on more permanent projects, perhaps in the realm of residential design. According to representative Ali Moran, it has been commissioned to design a club in Bangkok that is scheduled to open this fall.

Housed inside the Montgomery Meigs-designed former-U. S. Pension Bureau headquarters at 401 F Street N. W., the museum has organized a series of summer programs and events in conjunction with Fun House, starting with a dance program called Daybreaker on July 6.

As part of the lineup, Mustonen will talk about Snarkitecture and Fun House during a Spotlight on Design program on July 19 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

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Snarkitecture makes a Fun-House mini-retrospective for the National Building Museum’s Summer block Party

For its 2018 Summer Block Party exhibition, the National Building Museum reenlisted Snarkitecture to create Fun House. The New York-based architecture firm also designed the museum’s 2015 Summer Block Party; BEACH, which covered the 10,000-square-foot Great Hall in white plastic balls, and proved to be one of the most popular Summer Block Party exhibitions ever. This year, Snarkitecture worked with curator Maria Cristina Didero to take a different approach with Fun House, a full-size house with over 50 objects and installations that reference some of the firm’s previous work. Eleven different rooms, a front yard, and a backyard invite visitors to explore and play.  “We wanted to make the objects and environments in the show as accessible and interactive as possible, while also respecting the nature of some of the pieces as fragile design objects and ensuring the safety of visitors,” said Alex Mustonen of Snarkitecture. “In the end we've aimed to create a balance between moments that are playful and interactive with ones that are reflective and visually engaging.” In the front yard, people will find soft, oversize upholstered letters derived from A Memorial Bowling—a sculptural artwork completed in 2012 for Miami’s Orange Bowl Stadium—while a pool filled with white balls— “a domestic version of BEACH” explained Mustonen—occupies the backyard. Inside, functional items and accessories such as Broken Mirror and Pillow as well as limited edition pieces like Break and commissioned works like Beach Chair, provide moments of delight and discovery. “We wanted people to experience the projects in the same direct and tactile way that they would have with the original [versions],” Mustonen said. “With that as a starting point, we worked with Maria Cristina to develop the concept of the house as a framework that would organize the display objects and installations within an environment that would feel both familiar and unknown as visitors explore and discover the different rooms. Maria Cristina's proposal to reframe much of our work within an emotional context was something new for us, but also an idea that resonated with the way that we approach creating unexpected and memorable experiences.” “Fun House represents a unique opportunity for us to bring together a number of different Snarkitecture-designed interiors, installations, and objects into a single, immersive experience,” said Mustonen in a press release. “Our practice aims to create moments that make architecture accessible and engaging to a wide, diverse audience. With that in mind, we are excited to invite all visitors to the National Building Museum to an exhibition and installation that we hope is both unexpected and memorable.” Fun House opens at the National Building Museum on July 4 and will run through September 3, though Mustonen hints that it may travel to other locations in the future.
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Eviction is the subject of the National Building Museum's immersive spring show

Inspired by Matthew Desmond’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, the National Building Museum (NBM) in Washington, D.C. will be hosting Evicted, an immersive exhibition meant to expose visitors to the causes and fallout of eviction. From April 14 through May 19, 2019, guests can see original photography, audio interviews, and new data from Desmond’s Eviction Lab for free. The act of eviction can be a destabilizing force on families, as the evicted are thrust into uncertainty over their housing situation and marked with a blemish on their records that landlords can use to turning them down on rental applications. According to the NBM, “More than 11 million Americans are extremely low-income renters,” and 75 percent of qualified renters don’t receive federal aid. “Until recently, we simply didn’t know how immense this problem was, or how serious the consequences,” said Desmond in a statement. “Eviction does not simply drop poor families into a dark valley, a trying yet relatively brief detour on life’s journey. It fundamentally redirects their way, casting them onto a different, and much more difficult, path. Eviction is a cause, not just a condition, of poverty.” Evicted will convey this hardship through photographs of the eviction process, interviews with those affected, and infographics specifically commissioned for the show. The Eviction Lab’s repository of national eviction information will be packaged for visitors in an easily digestible manner, as the sheer facts and figures involved are typically overwhelming. Far from simply presenting the problem of eviction in a void, Evicted will highlight affordable housing projects and how local and state governments–as well as nonprofits–are tackling the issue. Ultimately, the museum wants to empower patrons to leave with ideas on how to help those on the precipice in their own neighborhoods and lift up those who have already felt the sting of eviction. “Homes form the building blocks of community life,” said executive director of the National Building Museum, Chase Rynd, in a statement. “We have to reveal what happens when this stability is threatened, as eviction looms—as well as ways to help stem this crisis.”
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Snarkitecture will build full-sized "Fun House" in the National Building Museum for 2018 summer season

The National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. has announced that the New York-based Snarkitecture will be designing the 2018 Summer Block Party exhibition for the museum’s Great Hall. Fun House will put a full-sized, freestanding house on display for visitors to explore, with the intent of explaining how Snarkitecture understands and reinterprets the built environment. Snarkitecture is no stranger to the National Building Museum, having lit Instagram ablaze with their 2015 Summer Block Party installation The BEACH. After filling 10,000 square feet of the museum’s Great Hall with enough translucent white balls to swim through, the studio will be taking a different tack this summer. The museum's four-story hall and its massive Corinthian columns will instead play host to Snarkitecture’s first full museum exhibition, with each room of Fun House containing environments and objects from the firm’s ten-year history. The house will also feature several new concepts developed exclusively for the museum, and a front and backyard with recognizable “outdoor activities” for guests to enjoy. “Making architecture and design approachable and fun is at the heart of the success of our summer series,” said Chase Rynd, executive director of the National Building Museum, in a statement. “Snarkitecture really understands our mission of inspiring curiosity about the world we design and build, and we’re excited to be working with them for the second time. We know our visitors will be thrilled to immerse themselves in Snarkitecture’s world yet again.” The program is only in its fifth year, but Fun House follows a series of ambitious Summer Block Party exhibitions, such as Hive by Studio Gang, ICEBERGS by James Corner Field Operations, and the BIG Maze by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG). Fun House will be open from July 4 through September 3, 2018. AN will update this post when more details of the installation become available.
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Secret cities of the Manhattan Project to go on view at the Building Museum

In the midst of World War II, three new cities sprung up across the United States, built from scratch by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Between 1942 and 1945, Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Los Alamos, New Mexico; and Hanford, Washington would become home to more than 125,000 people, but, officially, none of these places even existed. In fact, everything that happened inside the three "secret cities" was strictly confidential—even their locations, which were completely off the map. Now, some 75 years later, the National Building Museum is digging through the archives to present a declassified picture of the three cities at the core of the Manhattan Project, the research and development mission behind the first atomic bomb, with the exhibition "Secret Cities: The Architecture and Planning of the Manhattan Project," which opens from May 3. The show examines the exceptional design thinking required to build three clandestine cities at the height of the war, but these were not simple military encampments. Coinciding with the early moments of modernism, the hidden cities were a laboratory for the most cutting-edge explorations of town planning, engineering, and efficiency of mass and scale. To realize their vision, the Army Corps turned to architects like those at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, who provided the master plan for the community at Oak Ridge, which would grow to encompass 10 schools, a hospital, 17 restaurants, and 300 miles of road. To make it all possible, a team from SOM, led by led by John Ogden Merrill himself, set up shop in the town. The Tennessee office would grow to include some 300 architects, making it among the largest firms in the country at the time. Not only would the town prove a testing ground in which Bauhaus and other early modernist principles were utilized to create the type of planned suburb development that would dominate the following decades, it was also an opportunity for SOM's designers and engineers to experiment with new techniques and technologies, using prefab and modular construction methods combined with cemesto panels (names for their a mix of concrete and asbestos). At the time, the work was strictly confidential—not even the residents of the secret cities knew what they were working on. Only now, with the distance of time, is it possible to examine the legacy of these instant cities that sprung from the atomic race.