As you plan your escape to seaside destinations like Bethany, Rehoboth, or Ocean City this summer, add one more spot slightly closer to D.C. to your list: the National Building Museum. After hosting a mini golf course and an enormous human maze in summers past, the museum announced in a press release Wednesday that it is teaming up with Brooklyn-based design collaborative Snarkitecture to design a 10,000 square foot installation called “The BEACH” in its Great Hall. But instead of dipping your toes into the sand and surf, your little piggies will find their refuge in nearly one million translucent plastic balls. It’s the Ikea ball pit in a mature, stark white form. (Word to the wise, Building Museum staffers: Ball pits are gross. Take a cue from the old New York Avenue Beach Bar and don’t skimp on the bleach.)
Beginning July 4 and extending through Labor Day, visitors can “swim” in the “ocean,” jump off a pier, or pull up a chair and lounge on the shoreline under an umbrella while watching the scene unfold. In order to mimic the endlessness of the ocean that vacationers experience at the shore, one wall will be mirrored. Should BEACH-goers get hungry, they can stop by a snack bar operated by Union Kitchen. The installation will offer a respite from the summer heat and also prompt visitors to think about natural environments and how experiences are fabricated, according to National Building Museum Executive Director Chase W. Rynd.
Admission fees and more information can be found on the museum’s website. In the meantime, plan your summertime play outfit carefully. Bathing suits aren’t quite appropriate for this indoor day at the seashore.
Rendering courtesy Snarkitecture