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James Corner Field Operations

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dmadsen, hanley wood, llc

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12,540 sq. feet


National Building Museum



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Read the latest news on James Corner Field Operations' Icebergs exhibition proposal.

Project Description


The National Building Museum will create a new, one-of-a-kind destination this summer when it unveils ICEBERGS, designed by James Corner Field Operations. Representing a beautiful, underwater world of glacial ice fields spanning the Museum’s enormous Great Hall, the immersive installation will emphasize current themes of landscape representation, geometry, and construction. ICEBERGS will be open to the public July 2–September 5, 2016, part of the Museum’s imaginative Summer Block Party series.

ICEBERGS will feature installation elements in a variety of sizes and built of re-usable construction materials such as scaffolding and polycarbonate paneling, a material commonly used in building greenhouses. A “water line” suspended 20 feet high will bisect the vertical space, allowing panoramic views from high above the ocean surface and down below among the towering bergs. The tallest “bergy bit,” at 56 feet, will reach above the waterline to the third story balcony of the Museum. ICEBERGS will occupy a total area of 12,540 square feet.

Visitors will be able to ascend a viewing area inside the tallest berg, traverse an undersea bridge, relax among caves and grottos on the ocean floor, sample shaved-ice snacks, and participate in unique educational programming integrating landscape architecture, design, and the environmental.

James Corner Field Operations is an urban design, landscape architecture, and public realm practice based in New York City and known for projects such as New York’s High Line and Santa Monica’s Tongva Park. The firm was commissioned by the National Building Museum to create the temporary summer exhibit following last year’s popular BEACH installation, a playful structure that welcomed over 180,000 visitors during its two month run.

“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.”

“ICEBERGS symbolizes an extreme counterpoint to the sweltering heat of the Washington, D.C. summer,” said Chase W. Rynd, Hon. ASLA, executive director of the National Building Museum. “We hope that James Corner Field Operations’ striking design will provoke both serious public conversation about the complex relationship between design and landscape, while also eliciting a sense of wonder and play among visitors of all ages.”
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