Re-Ball! winner Hou de Souse reuses 650,000 plastic balls for interactive installation in abandoned D.C. trolley station
It has been a little over two and a half weeks since the last submissions rolled in March 4 for Re-Ball!, an international competition hosted by Dupont Underground. Raise/Raze, the winning design by New York City-based architecture firm Hou de Sousa, emphasizes interactivity and social interaction, inviting users to make their own mark on the building (and destruction) process. Re-Ball! is an organization seeking to bring life to a defunct trolley station under Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C. The station opened in 1949 and was abandoned in 1962, when the city stopped its streetcar service. (Though in the 1960s parts were used as a fallout shelter and later a food court.) Dupont Underground signed a five-year lease with the city in 2014, and hopes to create a Low Line-like experience, yet with a more cultural bend, hosting art and design exhibitions, community and educational events. They also want to host pop up restaurants and retail, creative incubators, and more, both temporary and permanent. To start activating the Dupont space and get those creative juices flowing, the competition asked entrants to create a site-specific installation repurposing over 650,000 translucent white plastic balls used in a former National Building Museum installation last summer. They asked entrants to create a design to help fill the 14,000 square foot east platform, now mostly raw concrete and subway tile, beneath Dupont Circle. “The winning entry should be thoughtful, provocative, witty, safe, and executable on a limited budget, in a limited time frame, and within the confines of the site,” Dupont Underground wrote in their competition brief. “Raise/Raze is like sand in a massive sandbox; it allows its users to alter their surroundings with ease,” said the designers in a statement. To see the installation when it opens April 30, you’ll need to make a reservation. Advanced admission tickets are available via the Indiegogo campaign. The installation will run through June 1. Check out the finalists here and a gallery of all proposals over here.