Last year, it was icebergs. This year, the National Building Museum's summer installation will be hives.
As in, insect hives. Not the skin rash.
The installation — literally called “Hive” — will feature more than 2,700 paper tubes, each ranging in size from a few inches to 10 feet tall. There will be three interconnected forms, with pink interiors and shiny silver exteriors, and the largest hive of them all will be about 60 feet tall.
Designed by Studio Gang, an urban design and architecture firm in New York and Chicago, the domes won't just be for Instagramming. The smaller chambers will also have chimes and drumlike tubes that are meant to encourage interaction.
“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,” Studio Gang founding principal Jeanne Gang said in a news release. “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.”
The museum also will host after-hours events on Wednesday evenings, with food and drink from Hill Country and live music.
The installation forms part of the museum's Summer Block Party series, which in past years has included a giant maze, a ball-pit “beach” and icebergs.
“The Beach” was perhaps the most popular of the bunch, at least in terms of social media fanfare, belonging in a period of Instagram-famous exhibitions in Washington that have gone on to include “Wonder” at the Renwick Gallery and, of course, the still-crowded Yayoi Kusama exhibition at the Hirshhorn Museum.
“Hive” opens to the public July 4 and runs through Sept. 4. Tickets cost $16 for adults.