Snarkitecture’s blockbuster BEACH exhibition to live on in Washington’s underground art space

by Alice Davis | 10 Sep 2015

A popular Snarkitecture-designed exhibit at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC, drew to a close this week, attracting almost 200,000 visitors in just two months.

The temporary interactive exhibit, entitled BEACH, was installed in the museum’s famous Great Hall and made from a mishmash of construction materials and an ocean of 750,000 recyclable plastic balls.

“We had around 182,000 visitors total,” a spokesperson for the National Building Museum told CLADglobal. “This was very popular, and although not the highest numbers we’ve seen for a single exhibition, it’s certainly the fastest to reach those numbers.”

Now that the BEACH has ended, the hundreds of thousands of white balls are being packed up and taken away by Dupont Underground – a local initiative that is transforming an abandoned underground trolley station in the city into an international arts and performance venue.

The arts coalition says it will hold a design competition to decide how to best re-use the materials within its 75,000sq ft (6,970sq m) of deserted tunnels, which are located below Washington’s Dupont Circle park.

Chase Rynd, president and executive director of the National Building Museum, said the Snarkitecture project had ensured from the start that the BEACH’s balls would be re-purposed or recycled and decided the subterranean arts space would make an apt collaborator.

“Dupont Underground shares both our interest in built environment education as well as our commitment to responsible environmental stewardship, and this made them an ideal partner for extending the life and impact of this installation,” Rynd said.

Braulio Agnese, Dupont Underground’s managing director said: “This is an incredible opportunity for the Dupont Underground to demonstrate its arts and design mission in a large-scale and somewhat unprecedented way. We are already thinking about how the plastic balls might be repurposed yet again after our installation.”

A temporary seasonal exhibition is a regular occurrence as part of the National Building Museum’s Summer Block Party.

“Prior to the BEACH, we had two years of Mini Golf,

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A popular Snarkitecture-designed exhibit at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC, drew to a close this week, attracting almost 200,000 visitors in just two months. The temporary interactive exhibit, entitled BEACH, was installed in the museum’s famous Great Hall and made from a mishmash of construction materials and an ocean of 750,000 recyclable plastic balls. “We had around 182,000 visitors total,” a spokesperson for the National Building Museum told
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Snarkitecture and the BEACH team pose for a photo at the National Building Museum, Washington, DC / Noah Kalina
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