Around Town: Indoor Ocean

Take your family to the beach this summer without leaving the District. 

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A place to relax (Photo by Diba Mohtasham)

In the middle of the city, there’s an easy way you can head to the beach this summer, all without the added hassle, traffic and sunburn. The BEACH is a temporary, interactive installation at the National Building Museum spanning 10,000 square feet. The installation creates the essence of a beach with a shoreline, a snack bar, chairs and umbrellas, all without all of the real elements of a beach. Plus, there’s no mess. The “ocean” is made up of almost one million clear plastic balls, all of which are recyclable.

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Kids at play (Photo by Diba Mohtasham)

The National Building Museum started installing fun exhibits to take advantage of the large space in the Great Hall. Last summer, Danish architect Bjarke Ingels created a giant maze that people could walk through. It was so successful that they decided to come up with something even bigger the next summer. Designers from Snarkitecture, an experimental design firm, decided to take a typically natural, outdoor environment and bring it inside of the building for a cool effect. “That is what creates the fun. It’s not normal and comfortable to have a beach indoors but people are acting like it’s a real beach,” said Brett Rodgers, VP for Marketing & Communications.

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Inside “The BEACH” (Photo by Diba Mohtasham)

The success of the installation has brought in a whole new crowd to the other galleries in the museum. “It kind of goes to our mission. At the top level, just building something unique in our Great Hall brings together all the disciplines that our mission is devoted to: architecture, engineering, construction, materials” said Rodgers.

The BEACH is open until September 7, 2015. More information about the exhibit and ticket prices can be found at nbm.org. 

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