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Rockwell Group's LAB invades National Building Museum's Great Hall with summertime icons
United States Architecture News - Jul 11, 2019 - 02:55 2189 views
The LAB of New York-based firm Rockwell Group has invaded the Great Hall of the National Building Museum with summertime icons, containing a vast, sloping green space, a pixelated cloudscape, park benches, communal lounging areas and hammocks in Washington, DC.
Named Lawn, the installation was set up as part of the 2019 Summer Block Party of the Museum. The installation, built as a real performance space, has been opened to the public on July 4 and will be showcased until September 2, 2019 at the Great Hall.
Lawn allows guests to unwind with quintessential summer activities while connecting to the design of the Museum. It features a vast, sloping green space built on a scaffolding superstructure.
"Celebrating and exploring the public and private identities of a lawn as an iconic communal space for interaction and performance, we created a space to inspire people to share stories, make memories, and daydream," said Rockwell Group.
"The lawn is a fascinating example of a typology that straddles the line between public and private space," said David Rockwell, founder and president, Rockwell Group.
"Whether it is a backyard or a public green, lawns bring people together and foster a sense of community, so our goal was to create an indoor lawn that would inspire people to share stories, make memories, and daydream, while honoring the great tradition of summertime."
Upon arriving at the base, guests are met with a green expanse, set on a graceful incline and dotted with clusters of communal lounging areas. Visitors can enjoy refreshments and lawn games like croquet, bocce ball, and dominoes.
At the top of the lawn is a scaffolding tower that reaches the height of the Museum’s third floor, offering never-before-seen views of the Great Hall, column capitals, and sculptural busts lining the roof.
Rockwell Group has collaborated with Yessian Music, an award winning sound design studio to envelop the lawn in a soundscape of distilled audio elements that evoke time spent outdoors on a warm summer day: crickets chirping, bees buzzing, a lawnmower whirring in the distance.
The centerpiece of the lounging areas features interactive hammocks suspended from the 100-foot-tall ceiling grid. The hammocks contain hidden speakers programmed with audio from prominent American storytellers, sharing summertime memories.
Tales are selected from Bette Midler, Venus Williams, Whoopi Goldberg, Norman Lear, Jose Andres, and other actors, chefs, and architects highlight shared themes of community and placemaking, further immersing visitors into the feeling of summer.
An observation deck provides views of both the Lawn and the building itself, 53 feet (16,15 meter) above ground. 29,000 square feet (2,694 square meters) of soy-based grass is repurposed at the center.
The LAB has also developed an augmented reality game for kids and adults to chase, collect, and release fireflies in the National Building Museum space.
The 2019 Summer Block Party installations are tradition at the National Building Museum and the Museum commissions an architect to design an installation at the Great Hall every year.
All images © Timothy Schenck