Rockwell Lab goes green for summer at National Building Museum in Washington D.C.
Summer climes are made for being outdoors, but with the proliferation of heat waves and inclement weather, sometimes staying indoors simply works. The National Building Museum in Washington D.C. brings the best of both worlds together with its latest Summer Block Party installation, which this year, comes courtesy of Lab at Rockwell Group.
The New York firm’s design and innovation studio, which blends interactive technology, architecture and storytelling, has created Lawn, a sprawling and sloping green space, right in the heart of the museum’s iconic atrium.
Visitors first arrive to purchase their tickets via a reception area, featuring a building-scale mural of the sky. They then venture down a sloping trail, set on a gentle incline, where deck chairs are arranged in clusters, along with a series of interactive hammocks that are equipped with hidden speakers that spout recordings from prominent American figures, such as Venus Williams, Whoopi Goldberg, Bette Midler, restaurateur Danny Meyer and more, recalling their summertime memories. The hammocks hang from a 100 ft tall ceiling grid, suspended above the building’s atrium, while the lawn itself sits on a specially built scaffolding superstructure to achieve its dynamic topography.
‘When we were invited to dream up this year’s Summer Block Party installation, my immediate goal was to transform the Great Hall into a space that pulls visitors in physically and emotionally, tapping into their curiosity and desire to connect with others,’ says David Rockwell. ‘As we delved deeper into the design process, it became clear that so many of the summertime activities that we look forward to enjoying with friends and family each year take place on a “lawn”—whether it’s a yard, a public park, a playground, or a rooftop. Lawn is our celebration of this iconic idea.’
In addition to taking a breather, visitors to Lawn will be able to enjoy summertime refreshments as well as classic lawn games such as bocce ball, dominoes and croquet. One final perk of being indoors: Lawn also boasts a scaffolding tower at its top, which reaches the museum’s third floor and offers visitors an unprecedented look at the Great Hall, its recognisable columns in detail and the sculptural busts lining its roof. §