National Building Museum and Rockwell Group present Lawn

Categories: Articles, Press

2019 Summer Block Party Installation opens July 4

Rendering by the LAB at Rockwell Group.
Rendering by the LAB at Rockwell Group.

The National Building Museum will partner with the LAB at Rockwell Group to present the 2019 Summer Block Party installation. Lawn will be an immersive installation taking up the entirety of the Museum’s Great Hall, and present interactive experiences for all ages. Lawn is open July 4 through September 2, 2019.

Lawn allows guests to unwind with quintessential summer activities while connecting to the design of the Museum. It features a vast, sloping green space built on a scaffolding superstructure. Visitors purchase tickets at a reception area that features a building-scale mural of the sky, containing a dimensional title treatment set against a pixelated cloudscape made up of classic summertime iconography. Guests are directed towards a pathway running alongside the scaffolding, leading to a gently sloping trail that will bring visitors to the base of the lawn.

Visitors are met with a green expanse, set on a graceful incline and dotted with clusters of communal lounging areas. The centerpiece of these lounging areas are interactive hammocks suspended from the 100-foot-tall ceiling grid. The hammocks contain hidden speakers programmed with pre-recorded audio from prominent American storytellers, sharing summertime memories. At the top of the lawn is a scaffolding tower that reaches the height of the Museum’s third floor, offering never-before-seen views of the Great Hall, column capitals, and sculptural busts lining the roof.

The lawn itself will be programmed and activated throughout the day with summer entertainment and activities, including movie nights, yoga, and meditation. By creating custom software, the LAB has also developed an Augmented Reality game for kids and adults to chase and collect fireflies throughout the lawn, allowing them to be released back into the space at the end.

“Rockwell Group’s mission to drive connection through design aligns perfectly with our Summer Block Party series,” said Chase Rynd, executive director, National Building Museum. “The LAB has ingeniously brought a quintessentially American ideal into our Great Hall, highlighting the interplay between design and landscape, while also eliciting a sense of wonder and play among visitors of all ages.”

Rendering by the LAB at Rockwell Group.
Rendering by the LAB at Rockwell Group.

“The lawn is a fascinating example of a typology that straddles the line between public and private space,” said David Rockwell, founder and president, Rockwell Group. “Whether it is a backyard or a public green, lawns bring people together and foster a sense of community, so our goal was to create an indoor lawn that would inspire people to share stories, make memories, and daydream, while honoring the great tradition of summertime.”

Lawn is also sustainable. The surface material, provided by SynLawn, is a USDA certified BioPreferred® product comprised of sustainably grown sugarcane and a soybean-based backing system. The material is 100% recyclable and will be repurposed after the Lawn closes. Additionally, the scaffolding will be re-used on other jobs once the exhibition ends.

Lawn will be the sixth Summer Block Party installation, and follows Fun House by Snarkitecture, Hive by Studio Gang, ICEBERGS by James Corner Field Operations, The BEACH by Snarkitecture, and the BIG Maze by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG). Lawn also is the second collaboration between the Museum and Rockwell Group, who developed and designed PLAY WORK BUILD, an exhibition exploring the connections between play, design, and the work of building professionals. PLAY WORK BUILD, which opened in 2012, is the Museum’s highest attended exhibition to date.

Lawn will be complemented by other programs and events, and ticket purchasers will be able to visit all of the Museum’s exhibitions, including HOOPS and Flickering Treasures: Rediscovering Baltimore’s Forgotten Movie Theaters.

Lawn, presented with AARP, is also sponsored by CoStar Group, HDR, Inc. and SynLawn.

“AARP is proud to partner with the National Building Museum to present Lawn,” said Jo Ann Jenkins, CEO, AARP. “We believe our members will enjoy visiting this exhibition in one of the nation’s iconic architectural treasures. We entered into our second collaboration with the National Building Museum because Lawn is not only fun and entertaining, but makes us think about the ways our communities have shaped our lives and their power to shape our futures.”

A press preview will be held on Wednesday, July 3 at 11 am, and feature remarks from David Rockwell. Members of the LAB at Rockwell Group will also be available. RSVP to Emma Filar at or 202.272.2448, ext. 3458.

Renderings are available at Images from previous Summer Block Party installations are available as well.

Ticket prices for Lawn will be as follows and include admission to all other current National Building Museum exhibitions:

Free: National Building Museum Members
$16: Adult
$13: Youth/Student with ID/Senior/AARP member
$10: Blue Star Military Adult

Free passes will be available online for members on June 18; general admission will be available for advance purchase starting June 25. A limited quantity of tickets will be available on site each day. Tickets for Late Nights and special programs are sold separately and are not included in general admission.

Based in New York with a satellite office in Madrid, Rockwell Group is an interdisciplinary architecture and design firm that emphasizes innovation and thought leadership in every project.  Founded by David Rockwell, FAIA, and led by David and partners Shawn Sullivan and Greg Keffer, the 250-person firm merges theater, performance and architecture to create extraordinary experiences and built environments across the globe. A strong commitment to explore and experiment resulted in the formation of the LAB at Rockwell Group, a design innovation studio that blends interactive technology, architecture, strategy, and storytelling. The firm’s projects include Union Square Cafe (New York); Nobu restaurants and hotels worldwide; Warner Music Group (Los Angeles); Moxy Chelsea and Moxy Times Square (New York); W Hotels (New York, Nashville, Paris, Madrid, Suzhou, Singapore and Vieques); The Shed (Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Lead Architect, and Rockwell Group, Collaborating Architect); the Hayes Theater (New York); NeueHouse (New York and Hollywood); TED Theater (Vancouver); The Diner for Surface magazine; product collections for Knoll, Stellar Works, Rich Brilliant Willing, and The Rug Company; and set designs for She Loves Me, Kinky Boots, the Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park, the 2009 and 2010 Academy Awards, the upcoming Broadway productions of Kiss Me Kate and Tootsie, and The Shed’s inaugural production—Soundtrack of America. Honors and recognition include 2016 Tony and Drama Desk Awards for Best Scenic Design for She Loves Me; the AIANY President’s Award; the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award; and the Presidential Design Award. For more information, please visit

The National Building Museum inspires curiosity about the world we design and build. We believe that understanding the history and impact of architecture, engineering, landscape architecture, construction, and design is important for all ages. Through exhibitions and educational programs, we show how the built world has power to shape our lives, communities, and futures. Public inquiries: 202.272.2448 or visit Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.