National Building Museum gives visitors ‘a chance to physically interact with the work of a cutting-edge international design firm’
On 4 July, the National Building Museum in Washington unveiled an interactive new exhibit designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG). The BIG Maze is located in the Museum’s Great Hall, hidden behind 20ft-high walls. Constructed using Baltic birch plywood, the walls of the maze gradually descend towards the centre of the form, meaning that those standing in the centre can understand their path and easily find a way out.
Chase W. Rynd, Executive Director of the National Building Museum explains that the 57x57ft BIG Maze gives visitors ‘a chance to physically interact with the work of a cutting-edge international design firm’, prior to the full BIG Exhibition planned for January 2015.
BIG took inspiration for the design from a variety of sources, from the corn mazes of America to the traditional hedge mazes of 17th- and 18th-century Europe. The team also looked at the arrangements of ancient labyrinths during their research and used these varied forms to determine their final design.
BIG Founding Partner Bjarke Ingels explains: “The concept is simple: as you travel deeper into a maze, your path typically becomes more convoluted. What if we invert this scenario and create a maze that brings clarity and visual understanding upon reaching the heart of the labyrinth.”
Contractors: Clark Construction, Davis, Glass Construction, GCS Inc., Grunley Construction, Sigal
Materials: Home Depot Foundation
Cost Estimation: Cumming, VJ Associates
Structural Engineering: Robert Silman Associates
Live-Streaming Multimedia: Earthcam
Support: The American Institute of Architects, STUDIOS Architecture
BIG Credit List
Partners-in-Charge: Bjarke Ingels, Kai-Uwe Bergmann
Project Leader: Chi-Chi Lin
Team: Ziad Shehab, Thea Gasseholm, Annette Miller
National Building Museum Credit List
Project Director: Cathy Crane Frankel
Master Carpenter: Chris Maclay
Team: Lily Feinberg, Mary Hendrickse, Sarah Leavitt, Jamee Telford, Vladimir Zabavskiy