District Design created "Ledoux for Two," which focuses on the sphere's "utopian lineage" through historical and contemporary projects, including the work of French neoclassical designer and planner Claude-Nicolas Ledoux. Two players can approach multiple holes on either side of the cylindrical sculpture and play simultaneously. The hole is sponsored by Linder & Associates Event Architects.

District Design created "Ledoux for Two," which focuses on the sphere's "utopian lineage" through historical and contemporary projects, including the work of French neoclassical designer and planner Claude-Nicolas Ledoux. Two players can approach multiple holes on either side of the cylindrical sculpture and play simultaneously. The hole is sponsored by Linder & Associates Event Architects.

Credit: Emily Clack Photography

Architecture, miniature golf, and air conditioning—all ingredients that make for a family-friendly outing during the sweltering summer months in Washington, D.C. Following the success of last year’s inaugural event, the National Building Museum has brought back its high-design, indoor Mini Golf exhibition. This year’s attraction, which opened on May 27, has expanded to include two nine-hole golf courses, Blue and Green (with Blue being the unwritten harder course).

Each hole was designed and constructed by a team of local architects, landscape architects, and contractors under the theme “Building the Future.” For example, for hole 5 on the Green course, titled “Capital City Crops,” designer Rippeteau Architects imagines a D.C. flooded by the Chesapeake Bay. Iconic structures have been encapsulated in glass domes—or mixing bowls—and must be viewed from an elevated National Mall that also serves as farmland. Look for an unexpected observer in the Washington Monument porthole.

The "Holograph Hole" by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill alludes to the 3D technologies that have made design concepts easier to understand. Its additional sponsor is Zebra Imaging and additional builder is the Catholic University School of Architecture.

The "Holograph Hole" by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill alludes to the 3D technologies that have made design concepts easier to understand. Its additional sponsor is Zebra Imaging and additional builder is the Catholic University School of Architecture.

Credit: Kevin Allen Photography

Suitable for players ages 4 and up, the holes integrate many quirky and entertaining features such as interactive lights, miniature construction toys, and a confounding hologram. Though the fairways may look straightforward, many are deceptively challenging, as evidenced by players' frequent cheers, groans, and laughter. Be forewarned that carpet and polished wood can make for tough playing surfaces. The full course description with information on sponsors, designers, and design objectives is available on the National Building Museum’s website. Some of the memorable holes ARCHITECT staff members played are below.

After players have finished each course, they can vote for their favorite hole for the People’s Choice award. The Mini Golf exhibition is open during normal museum hours through Labor Day, Sept. 2. The museum also offers “Mini Golf Late Nights” featuring golfing, musical performances, and barbecue from local favorite Hill Country restaurant through 9 p.m. Five late night dates remain: June 27, July 11, July 24, Aug. 8, and Aug. 22. nbm.org

Left: "Homeroom" by Smolen Emr Ilkovitch Architects seeks to depict a classroom of the future. Middle: "Participatory Terrain" allows players to augment the course by placing a rod in the assent or dissent craters in response to a posed question. Right: "Capitol RiverGreen" depicts the bustling development in the district's Southeast and Southwest neighborhoods. The hole is sponsored by Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District and The Yards, designed by Shalom Baranes Associates, and built by Winmar Construction. Contributors include ABC Imaging, Forest City Washington, Herip Associates, Interface Multimedia, and Ken Foran.

Left: "Homeroom" by Smolen Emr Ilkovitch Architects seeks to depict a classroom of the future. Middle: "Participatory Terrain" allows players to augment the course by placing a rod in the assent or dissent craters in response to a posed question. Right: "Capitol RiverGreen" depicts the bustling development in the district's Southeast and Southwest neighborhoods. The hole is sponsored by Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District and The Yards, designed by Shalom Baranes Associates, and built by Winmar Construction. Contributors include ABC Imaging, Forest City Washington, Herip Associates, Interface Multimedia, and Ken Foran.

Credit: Kevin Allen Photography

Left: "MateriAlive" by Hixon Design Consultants and Parker Rodriguez with sponsor the Vinyl Institute shows that many paths can lead to a goal. The base illuminates when the ball is sunk. Right: "Tomorrow's Water," designed and built by the Virginia Tech Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center and sponsored by the American Society of Landscape Architects, features a challenging watershed terrain.

Left: "MateriAlive" by Hixon Design Consultants and Parker Rodriguez with sponsor the Vinyl Institute shows that many paths can lead to a goal. The base illuminates when the ball is sunk. Right: "Tomorrow's Water," designed and built by the Virginia Tech Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center and sponsored by the American Society of Landscape Architects, features a challenging watershed terrain.

Credit: Kevin Allen Photography

Hargrove's "Imagination Powers the Future" celebrates the journey of ideas from daydream to reality.

Hargrove's "Imagination Powers the Future" celebrates the journey of ideas from daydream to reality.

Credit: Kevin Allen Photography