There’s a whole lot of buzz around the National Building Museum (NBM) this summer! Coming in with a literal bang, the NBM presents a new, interactive installation titled HIVE (July 4-Sept. 4). Following in the footsteps of the NBM’s ingenious Summer Block Party series like last year’s ICEBERGS and 2015’s trendy BEACH, HIVE is sure to stun! Read on to get the scoop! 

Photo: National Building Museum

Cardboard Tubes, Re-invented
And you thought cardboard tubes were just for pretend trumpeting. Soaring to the tippy top of the Museum, Hive will be built of more than 2,700 looped paper tubes which are recyclable, lightweight, and renewable. The tubes can be as small as several inches to as high as 10 feet. The tubes will be linked to create three vibrant unified chambers. The tallest dome will reach 60 feet! The tubes feature a reflective silver exterior and vibrant magenta interior which kids of all ages will love. The cylinders create a stunning visual juxtaposition with the National Building Museum’s historic nineteenth-century interior and colossal Corinthian columns.

Remind you of something?
Hive, the latest collaboration between the National Building Museum and Studio Gang (an architecture and urban design practice based in Chicago and New York), might put you in the mindset of other famous worldly structures such as Saarinen’s Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Brunelleschi’s Dome at the Florence Cathedral in Italy, Musgum mud huts in Cameroon or the intricacies of a spider’s web. The tall, wide tubes allow visitors to enter the installation from the ground level all the way to the museum’s upper-floor balconies.

Don’t just stand there
Visitors will be able to explore how structures reflect sound and light. Each cavity has a distinctive acoustic property that will affect tone, reverberation, and reflection. Kids will love playing with the smaller chambers which will encourage diversion with hollow instruments such as drum like tubes and suspended chimes. Outside the installation, design educator Alex Gilliam’s Build It! Disks will offer a hands on cooperative building activity. The idea behind the installation is for visitors to delve into how a structure can transform and replicate sound, light, scale, and human interaction. The entire family will enjoy experiencing the exhibit individually as well as collaboratively.

Extras, extras
The Museum will host a number of events and activities through the summer, including “Ward Days” in partnership with the D.C. Council. Ward Days feature free admission to Hive and the Museum’s exhibitions for residents of all eight D.C. wards. Other Hive programs include behind the scenes construction tours, summer reading lists for children and adults cocreated with the D.C. Public Library, and an after hours program for teens on August 10th. Bonus: Hill Country BBQ will be around all summer selling food, drinks, and providing live music outdoors. 

Cost: Free/NBM Members; $16/adults; $13/kids; $10/Blue Star Military
401 F St., NW (Judiciary Square)
Online: nbm.org

Have you zipped by this exhibit yet? Tell us about it in the comments below.

–Guiomar Ochoa