As any Washingtonian would know, our nation’s capital is sadly not home to any beaches (and we don’t recommend taking a dip in the Potomac River!). For a few months in 2015, however, you can finally partake in the quintessential summer activity in D.C. with the National Building Museum’s indoor BEACH—no sunscreen required. Sand was swapped out for nearly one million white recyclable balls contained in a ball pit built out of construction materials, including scaffolding, wooden panels, and perforated mesh. All of these elements are painted white and are bathed in natural light.
“This exclusive transformation of the Museum’s historic Great Hall will inspire a sense of wonder and imagination,” says Chase W. Rynd, executive director of the National Building Museum. “Although it is bound to be an entertaining retreat from the summer heat for our visitors, it also turns our understanding of the natural environment on its head and offers us the opportunity to question our own expectations of the built environment and see where pushing the boundaries can take us.”
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The 50-foot-wide “shoreline” that rings the ball pit is dotted with monochromatic beach chairs and umbrellas. A mirrored wall at one end of the installation gives the “ocean” greater visual depth. Visitors can “swim” in the ocean, relax on the “shoreline,” and play beach-related activities such as paddleball. The design was created as part of the National Building Museum’s annual “Summer Block Party” and is the Museum’s largest public installation built to date. The BEACH opened July 4 and will be available until Labor Day, September 7, 2015.
+ National Building Museum
Images via National Building Museum