The National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., has kicked off the summer with a new interactive installation that brings a real-life beach experience indoors. The BEACH, a 10,000-square-foot installation designed by New York–based Snarkitecture, features a 50-foot wide shoreline with beach chairs and umbrellas and an ocean made of approximately one million clear, recyclable plastic balls. The ocean also includes a mirrored wall that creates a large reflection.
Located in the museum’s Great Hall, the BEACH is built out of scaffolding, wooden panels, and perforated mesh, all of which are clad in stark white. The flooring is made of a spongiform material that mimics sand.
Museum visitors can swim through the ocean of plastic balls, participate in beach activities like paddleball, grab a bite to eat at the snack bar, and relax on the BEACH pier.
“This exclusive transformation of the museum’s historic Great Hall will inspire a sense of wonder and imagination,” says Chase W. Rynd, executive director of the National Building Museum. “Although it is bound to be an entertaining retreat from the summer heat for our visitors, it also turns our understanding of the natural environment on its head and offers us the opportunity to question our own expectations of the built environment and see where pushing the boundaries can take us.”
The BEACH is on display through September 7, 2015, and is part of the museum’s annual Summer Block Party, which includes programming, exhibitions, and events for all ages.
Photography by Noah Kalina