Studio Gang will install a human hive in the halls of the National Building Museum this summer. The Chicago- and New York–based studio will erect thousands of wound paper tubes to create three domed rooms, the tallest of which will stretch 60 feet into the air. The tubes, a sustainable building material, range in height from a few inches to ten feet.
The installation, aptly named Hive, will anchor the D.C. museum’s Summer Block Party, a series of temporary commissions inside its Great Hall. Previous participants include James Corner Field Operations (2016), Snarkitecture (2015), and BIG (2014).
“When you enter the Great Hall you almost feel like you’re in an outside space because of the distance sound travels before it is reflected back and made audible,” said Studio Gang founding principal Jeanne Gang, in a prepared statement. “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. 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, bringing people together to explore and engage the senses.”
The firm’s installation will compress the capacious Great Hall, with its imposing Corinthian columns, into intimate spaces for conversation, playing musical instruments, or cooperative building activities for children (and adults so inclined). The tubes also feature reflective silver exteriors and vivid magenta interiors, creating a spectacular visual contrast with the Museum’s historic nineteenth-century interior.
Hive will be on view from July 4–September 4, 2017. Check nbm.org for more information about the exhibition and related programming.