This year’s installment of the National Building Museum’s Summer Block Party Series, James Corner Field Operations’ ICEBERGS, is now open to the public. On display until September 5th, ICEBERGS takes the form of a shimmering, underwater world of glacial ice fields located in the museum’s expansive Great Hall to provide the public with an escape from the hot Washington, D.C. summer.
Wrapping around the Great Hall’s large corinthian columns, a “water line” has been suspended at 20 feet to bisect the room and turn the space into a literal representation of a 3D ice cube drawing. Massive polycarbonate icebergs poke their way through the water, becoming slides and viewing platforms as they approach the ground.
To beat the heat, visitors are invited to relax and chill on white cushions along the ocean floor, traverse an undersea bridge or sample Japanese kakigori shaved-ice snacks provided by Daikaya restaurant. Occupying a total area of 12,540 square feet, the icebergs reach heights of up to 56 feet, tall enough to reach the third story of the museum.
In addition to its theme of respite, the exhibition also addresses more serious concerns such as climate change and material waste. To show how building materials can be used with a full life-cycle in mind, ICEBERGS has been constructed out of reusable construction materials such as scaffolding and polycarbonate paneling.
“ICEBERGS invokes the surreal underwater-world of glacial ice fields,” said James Corner, founder and director of James Corner Field Operations. “Such a world is both beautiful and ominous given our current epoch of climate change, ice-melt, and rising seas. The installation creates an ambient field of texture, movement, and interaction, as in an unfolding landscape of multiples, distinct from a static, single object.”
Tickets to ICEBERGS are $16 for adults and $13 for youth, students and senior. To learn more about the exhibition, visit the museum’s website here.