Washington DC’s National Building Museum is now inviting visitors to get lost in the BIG Maze, a giant plywood maze designed by internationally acclaimed architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group. Opened on July 4, 2014, the BIG Maze is a 3,600 square foot concave labyrinth that sprawls out across the National Building Museum's grand atrium. Made from maple plywood, the large-scale contemporary installation can also be viewed from an aerial perspective on the museum's second and third levels.
Known for their playful designs, BIG mixed design influences from ancient labyrinths, 17th and 18th century European hedge mazes, and even American corn mazes. Unlike the typical maze, however, this interactive wooden puzzle curves into a concave shape to create a kind of optical illusion.
Of his design, Bjarke Ingels says: “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?” From the outside, the walls tower above visitors at approximately 18 feet tall, but descend in height as visitors walk closer to the center of the maze.
The BIG Maze was created as a prelude to BIG’s upcoming exhibition, amBIGuity, which is slated to open at the National Building Museum in January 15, 2015. The BIG Maze will be open until September 1, 2014.