Hive, Studio Gang’s 2017 Summer Block Party installation, has opened to the public at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. Constructed from 2,551 silver-and-magenta wound paper tubes, Hive invites visitors to explore their senses in a series of dome-shaped chambers, each scaled to reflect a unique sound signature. Utilizing structural paper tubes commonly used in construction as concrete formwork, Hive takes its form from the catenary physics that have inspired some of the world’s great structures such as the the Gateway Arch in St. Louis and Brunelleschi’s Dome at the Florence Cathedral in Italy, and vernacular buildings such as Musgum mud huts in Cameroon. The installation plays with scale in surprising ways, its colossal exterior presence giving way to enveloping intimacy inside. Sited within the expansive space of the museum’s Great Hall, the mountain-like forms can be inhabited from the ground level or viewed from above from upper-floor balconies. An oculus located at the peak of the three domes draws the visitor’s eye up toward the soaring ceilings of Great Hall, while the spiraling pattern of the stacked tubes creates a perspective bending optical illusion.
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