A 10,000-square-foot indoor ball pit designed by New York firm Snarkitecture at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., will get a second life across town. When the installation closes on Sept. 7, its contents will be dismantled and handed over to the group that is managing the revitalization of the Dupont Underground, a former trolley station beneath the city’s popular Dupont Circle neighborhood that is being brought back to life as an arts space. The ball pit, designed to emulate a beach, contains more than 650,000 plastic balls and approximately 6,000 square feet of construction mesh. The Dupont Underground will host a competition later this year to use those materials as a part of its inaugural programming. Representatives from the museum, along with a member of the Dupont Underground's organizing group and two additional members of D.C.'s arts and design community will serve as competition judges, according to a press release.
Prior to the "The Beach" opening on July 4 in the museum's spacious atrium, the Dupont Underground reached out to museum staff to ensure it would be able to secure, transport, and store the materials once the exhibition closed. The Dupont Underground's staff and volunteers will work with museum staff to pack and transport the balls, which (thankfully) have an anti-microbial coating, and heavy-duty mesh to the new site.
In 2014, the Dupont Underground signed a five-and-a-half-year lease with the District. It plans to use the 75,000-square-foot space—which has been almost entirely out of commission since the city's streetcar system shut down in the early 1960s—to host exhibitions, public art performances, pop-up retail, film shoots, and other community events. The project is expected to open by September 2015.
ARCHITECT visited "The Beach" when it debuted this summer: