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National Building Museum Hosts Hive Installation

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

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A structure of silver and magenta tubes is being hosted in Washington, D.C.

Hive, the installation designed by Studio Gang, is part of the National Building Museum’s Summer Block Party series of temporary structures. Located in the museum’s Great Hall, Hive will be on display from July 4 to Sept. 4.

Studio Gang

According to the museum’s press release, the structure is built from 2,700 wound paper tubes, an environmentally friendly construction material

According to the museum’s press release, the structure is built from 2,700 wound paper tubes, an environmentally friendly construction material. Each individual tube varies in height between several inches to over 10 feet tall. Groups of tubes are interlocked to form three interconnected domes, the tallest of which is 60 feet and has a 10-foot wide oculus in its center. The tubes themselves have a reflective silver exterior and a magenta interior.

“Through their use of space and materials, Studio Gang pushes the limits of our summer series to new heights, literally and figuratively,” said Chase W. Rynd, executive director of the National Building Museum in the press release. “They have ingeniously coopted a commonplace material—the paper tube—into the ultimate building block, capable of reaching dazzling heights and affecting the sound, light, and scale of our surrounding building.”

Studio Gang used a catenary shape in each chamber, which balances both structural forces and supports its own weight. The shape of the domes is evocative of other structures that share some of the same elements, such as the Eero Saarinen’s Gateway Arch in St. Louis.

Together, the domes create a unique acoustic signature inside the Great Hall. Visitors can walk through each on the ground floor, or experience the installation from the upper-level balconies.

Studio Gang

Groups of tubes are interlocked to form three interconnected domes, the tallest of which is 60 feet and has a 10-foot wide oculus in its center.

“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 statement.

Gang went on to detail that the series of chambers are ideally suited for intimate conversations as well as performances.

“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,” Gang said.

The smaller domes are equipped with tubular instruments for visitors to interact with, the museum notes, and while each chamber changes the acoustic properties of the instruments, the largest dome is a space that encourages interaction. To capitalize on this, right outside are notched cardboard Build It! Disks, which are part of a hands-on cooperative building activity designed by design educator Alex Gilliam.

Studio Gang, which has locations in both New York and Chicago, has produced award-winning designs such as the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership at Kalamazoo College in Michigan and the Aqua Tower in Chicago. The studio was also recently chosen to work on the expansion of the American Museum of Natural History in New York.


Tagged categories: Color + Design; Interior design; Public spaces

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