The only way to find out just how deep the National Building Museum's ball pit is by diving in. Opening on July 4, the museum will transport guests to a seaside setting with a seemingly endless ball pit. This stark white "ocean" is composed of nearly one million recyclable translucent plastic balls and was designed by Snarkitecture, a design firm that architect Bjark Ingels recommended to the National Building Museum's staff. While designing the exhibition, Co-Founder of Snarkitecture Alex Mustonen said, "We wanted to create something that was very widely accessible for citizens and visitors to be able to come out here and spend an afternoon or weekend hanging out on the beach indoors." To maintain cleanliness in the ball pit, the plastic balls chosen each have an anti-microbial coating on them. The museum also has the proper machines needed to clean ball pits, according to Brett Rodgers, the vice president of Marketing and Communications at the National Building Museum.
The exhibition will continue until September 7 with hours that extend from 10 am. to 5 p.m. from Mondays through Saturdays and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. According to Rodgers, the museum will stay open later on Wednesdays this summer for "adult swim time" with live music. The admission for adults is $8; $5 for youth, students, and seniors; $3 for a person only in the "Building Zone;" and free for museum members.
At a press preview on Thursday, Mustonen said, "The idea of creating something that is unexpected, but also something that's memorable so to do that what we're looking at is drawing on things that are familiar. So, there are familiar things from the beach, whether they are things from your childhood or where you went last weekend. We're counting on these kind of forms, and elements, and programs that you would recognize from pretty much any beach and then also blending them with the world of construction. So, a lot of the materials that are used here are materials that are taken from both the everyday world of construction and the everyday world of the beach, and we're bringing them into this environment in a very reduced and abstracted way to create something again that seems different or separate from your everyday lives."
"A lot of this is about the idea of reduction. Simplifying things from our everyday surroundings in order to create an immersive experience that is both unexpected and memorable. Visitors are more attuned to their surroundings and their own experience if they are not being distracted by a ?multitude of colors? or textures," said Mustonen.
On what motivated the museum to construct such an exhibition, Rodgers said, "What we were really interested in is doing something special in our great hall that activates this space, something fun, and something that brings together all the disciplines of the built environment."
[See what the ball pit looks like right now with help from the Earth Cam livestream above.]
The BEACH will also have a snack bar, courtesy of Union Kitchen, a food incubator in Northeast Washington, D.C. Check out the menu below:
Also, every beach has its rules, so study up before you dip your toes in the "water":
· The National Building Museum [Official Website]
· Snarkitecture [Official Website]
· Snarkitecture Co-Founder Dishes on D.C.'s Upcoming Ball Pit [Curbed DC]
· Check Out D.C.'s Biggest Ball Pit Under Construction Right Now [Curbed DC]
· National Building Museum to Create a Giant Ball Pit Because Why Not [Curbed DC]