Previously home to a beach-like ball pit, a giant maze, and sea of icebergs, this summer the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. will host the “Hive,” a 60-foot-tall domed structure made up of more than 2,700 individual paper tubes. Designed by Studio Gang, the installation is part of the museum’s Summer Block Party series, which invites architects to fill the building’s historic Great Hall with a temporary, immersive intervention.
The “Hive” will consist of three interconnected domed chambers constructed from wound paper tubes wrapped in a reflective silver exterior and a bright magenta interior, creating vibrant visual contrast to the museum’s nineteenth-century interior and colossal Corinthian columns. The tubes will vary in size from just several inches to 10 feet tall, allowing the structure to meet a maximum height of 60 feet.
“Through their use of space and materials, Studio Gang pushes the limits of our summer series to new heights, literally and figuratively,” said Chase W. Rynd, Hon. ASLA, executive director of the National Building Museum. “They have ingeniously co-opted a commonplace material—the paper tube—into the ultimate building block, capable of reaching dazzling heights and affecting the sound, light, and scale of our surrounding building.”
The structure will utilize a catenary shape to optimize its structural potential and give the installation a reverberant acoustic effect. By reaching so high into the Great Hall space, the “Hive” will be able to be experienced from unique perspectives at both at ground level and from the Museum’s upper-floor balconies.
“When you enter the Great Hall you almost feel like you’re in an outside space because of the distance sound travels before it is reflected back and made audible,” said Studio Gang founding principal Jeanne Gang. “We’ve designed a series of chambers shaped by sound that are ideally suited for intimate conversations and gatherings as well as performances and acoustic experimentation. Using wound paper tubes, a common building material with unique sonic properties, and interlocking them to form a catenary dome, we create a hive for these activities, bringing people together to explore and engage the senses.”
Tubular instruments, such as drums and chimes, will be featured inside the Hive’s smaller chambers, inviting visitors to play and explore the structure’s acoustic properties. The largest chamber will feature an oculus more than 10 feet in diameter that will filter the natural light of the Great Hall into intricate patterns inside. Outside the installation, Philadelphia-based design educator Alex Gilliam’s notched cardboard Build It! Disks will offer a “hands-on cooperative building activity.”
The Hive will be will be open to the public from July 4 to September 4, 2017. To see the full slate of events surrounding this year’s Summer Block Party, visit the National Building Museum website, here.
News via National Building Museum.
Studio Gang has been selected to design next year's installation of the Summer Block Party at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. The temporary exhibition will be the latest in the Museum's annual series, after this year's ICEBERGS by James Corner Field Operations, and previous installations like Snarkitecture's The BEACH in 2015, and Bjarke Ingels Group's BIG Maze in 2014.