The annual Summer Block Party installation at the National Building Museum (NBM), designed this year by New York–based James Corner Field Operations, closes on Sept. 5, but the Washington, D.C.–based institution is already at work on the immersive temporary exhibit that will grace its massive Great Hall next summer. Today, the museum announced that Chicago-based Studio Gang Architects, led by MacArthur Fellow Jeanne Gang, FAIA, will do the honors of designing the summer 2017 iteration.
“We are delighted to embark on a new collaboration with Studio Gang over the next year,” said NBM executive director Chase Rynd in a press release. “With their creativity and impeccable design credentials, they are poised to re-imagine the possibilities of this series.”
This isn't the first collaboration between the firm and the museum. In 2010, Gang was an adviser on the NBM's "Intelligent Cities" project, following her 2009 lecture for the institution's "Women of Architecture" lecture series. Additionally, in 2003, a translucent, marble curtain-inspired installation designed by Gang was suspended in tension at the museum for its "Masonry Variations" exhibition.
Studio Gang has yet to release details as to what its NBM installation will entail, but its predecessors have set a strong precedent for a project that is immersive, interactive, and just plain fun.
The 2016 version, "Icebergs" (top image) brought a field of 30 prismatic, polycarbonate shards to the museum's internal atrium, a commentary on rising sea levels and other effects of climate change. That followed New York firm Snarkitecture's 2015 "The Beach" (above), a shore-inspired pit of roughly one million translucent plastic balls encouraging kids and grown-ups alike to jump in. And in 2014, the Denmark and New York–based Bjarke Ingels Group kicked off the Summer Block Party installation series with its 60-foot "BIG Maze" (below), whose sloping walls revealed labyrinthine paths as visitors traversed further inward.
Design work by Studio Gang includes Chicago's Aqua Tower, as well as exhibitions for the Chicago Architecture Biennial, and, recently, the expansion of the American Natural History Museum, in New York.