Looking for a place to cool off in Washington, D.C.’s sweltering heat? Take a breather at the National Building Museum’s ICEBERGS, a surreal wonderland of glacial ice fields that immerses visitors in a beautiful underwater world. Designed by James Corner Field Operations, the ICEBERGS installation was constructed from prefabricated prismatic elements and reusable materials.
Created as part of the National Building Museum’s Summer Block Party series, the 12,540-square-foot ICEBERGS project comprises over 30 geometric, iceberg-shaped elements in a variety of sizes ranging from 16 feet to 56 feet in height. Some of the triangular pentahedron and octahedron “icebergs” are suspended in the air, while others appear to float. The jagged landscape was constructed from prefabricated units made from reusable scaffolding and translucent polycarbonate paneling. White slides punctuate some icebergs as a playful interactive feature.
“ICEBERGS invokes the surreal underwater-world of glacial ice fields,” said James Corner, founder and director of James Corner Field Operations. “Such a world is both beautiful and ominous given our current epoch of climate change, ice-melt, and rising seas. The installation creates an ambient field of texture, movement, and interaction, as in an unfolding landscape of multiples, distinct from a static, single object.”
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Visitors can experience ICEBERGS from the Great Hall floor that’s punctuated with triangular beanbags, caverns, and grottoes, or from a higher level where they can look down at the “water line” suspended 20 feet in the air. The tallest “iceberg” rises to the height of 56 feet and includes a viewing area. To complement the installation, the Daikaya restaurant provides Japanese ‘kakigori’ shaved ice treats. The installation opened July 2, 2016 and will run until September 5, 2016.
Images by Timothy Schenck