Snarkitecture presents Fun House at the National Building Museum

Categories: Articles, Press

Interactive exhibition features well-known Snarkitecture projects in all-new context

Rendering courtesy Snarkitecture

WASHINGTON, D.C.—This summer, the National Building Museum presents a new, interactive exhibition designed by Snarkitecture. Titled Fun House, it is the latest in the Museum’s imaginative Summer Block Party series of temporary structures inside its historic Great Hall. Complemented by a full schedule of programs and special events, Fun House opens to the public July 4 through September 3, 2018.

Fun House is Snarkitecture’s first comprehensive museum exhibition, examining the prolific activities of the studio throughout the entirety of the Great Hall. Curated by Italy-based Maria Cristina Didero, the heart of the exhibition is presented within a Snarkitecture-designed house—a freestanding structure that recalls and re-imagines the idea of the traditional home. Fun House includes a sequence of interactive rooms featuring well-known Snarkitecture environments and objects, like Dig (2011) and Drift (2012), as well as new concepts developed for the Museum. As visitors walk through the house, the rooms convey the ten year story of Snarkitecture while underlining the studio’s peculiar, yet accessible way of reinterpreting the built environment.

In the Museum’s west court, or “front yard,” a custom recreation of A Memorial Bowing (2012), welcomes visitors into the space. Visitors exit the house towards the east court, or “backyard,” greeted by Playhouse (2017) and a kidney-shaped pool filled with hundreds of thousands of recyclable plastic balls, reminiscent of The BEACH (2015-17).

“Besides its symbolic value, the house stands for the basic icon in the field of architecture,” said Didero. “A simple and evocative concept, a house is the first thing most children learn to draw spontaneously, adding a triangle to a rectangular shape. In the occasion of Fun House, starting from the aforementioned simple outline, the conventional household is regarded and totally re-imagined to contextualize the unconventional theoretical journey of Snarkitecture’ s first decade of activities.”

Fun House represents a unique opportunity for us to bring together a number of different Snarkitecture-designed interiors, installations, and objects into a single, immersive experience,” said Alex Mustonen, co-founder of Snarkitecture. “Our practice aims to create moments that make architecture accessible and engaging to a wide, diverse audience. With that in mind, we are excited to invite all visitors to the National Building Museum to an exhibition and installation that we hope is both unexpected and memorable.”

Founded in 2008 by Alex Mustonen and Daniel Arsham, and joined by partner Benjamin Porto in 2014, Snarkitecture is a New York- based collaborative practice operating between art and. Best known for their playful approach to material and the reinterpretation of everyday objects and environments—from the raw, yet refined interiors of various Kith and COS stores to immersive installations at Salone del Mobile, the New Museum, Design Miami, and more—the studio’s tenth anniversary represents an opportune time to explore past work in a brand new format.

Fun House is the latest collaboration between the National Building Museum and Snarkitecture. In 2015, Snarkitecture created The BEACH, which covered 10,000 square feet of the Great Hall with nearly one million recyclable translucent plastic balls. The BEACH welcomed over 180,000 visitors over the span of eight weeks and remains one of the most popular National Building Museum exhibitions to date.

“We are thrilled to welcome Snarkitecture back to the Museum,” said Chase Rynd, executive director of the National Building Museum. “We knew they would be up to the challenge of designing something that will inspire curiosity about the world we design and build—and, for the first time, take up the entirety of the Great Hall.”

Rendering courtesy Snarkitecture.

Fun House is part of the Museum’s Summer Block Party, an annual series of installations and events for visitors of all ages. Previous Summer Block Party collaborations include Hive by Studio Gang (2017), ICEBERGS by James Corner Field Operations (2016), The BEACH by Snarkitecture (2015), and the BIG Maze by the Bjarke Ingels Group (2014).

The Museum offers various programs and events in conjunction with Fun House. On July 6, the Museum kicks off the summer with Daybreaker, the early morning dance movement. Throughout the run of Fun House, the Museum reprises its popular “Late Nights,” offering special evening hours every Wednesday. Each Late Night features special tours and pop-up talks, as well as food and beverage for purchase. The dates of Wednesday Late Nights are July 11, 18, 25, and August 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29.

The Museum once again hosts “Ward Days” in partnership with the Council of the District of Columbia. Ward Days feature free admission to Fun House and the Museum’s exhibitions for residents of all 8 Wards of Washington, D.C. D.C. residents can check for their specific day here.

Other programs include behind-the-scenes construction tours, a special edition of the Spotlight on Design lecture series featuring Snarkitecture, an after-hours program for teens, yoga classes, and more. Museum members can take advantage of special hours on most Saturday mornings, as well as free tickets.

Hill Country Backyard Barbecue also returns to the West Lawn this summer, opening May 16 through mid-September. They will offer an expanded menu, a family-friendly atmosphere, and host various happy hours and events. Hill Country Backyard Barbecue is open Wednesday through Friday, 4–9 pm; Saturday, noon–9 pm, and Sunday, noon–6 pm.

Fun House is generously supported by AARP; CoStar Group, Inc.; and HDR, Inc.

“AARP is pleased to support the Fun House exhibition at the National Building Museum,” said AARP chief of staff Kevin Donnellan. “Two of our key areas of focus at AARP are the importance of livable communities and the value of people being able to ‘age in place’ in their homes. In addition to being enjoyable, Fun House may spur attendees to think about those things in new ways.”

Emma Filar, director of marketing & communications, National Building Museum, 202.272.2448, ext. 3458

Ali Moran, associate director, Camron PR, 917.675.4377

A press preview will be held on Tuesday, July 3 at 10 am. Space is limited. To register, contact Emma Filar.

Ticket prices for Fun House 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

Admission includes one hour of timed entry in Fun House. Free passes will be available online for members on June 13; general admission will be available for advance purchase starting June 20. A very 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.

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.

Snarkitecture is a collaborative and experimental practice operating in territories between art and architecture. The name is drawn from Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of The Snark, a poem describing an “impossible voyage of an improbable crew to find an inconceivable creature.” Snarkitecture investigates the unknown within architecture – the indefinable moments created by manipulating and reinterpreting existing materials, structures and programs to spectacular effect. Exploring the boundaries of disciplines, the studio designs permanent, architectural scale projects and functional objects with new and imaginative purposes. Snarkitecture’s approach focuses on the viewer’s experience and memory, creating moments of wonder and interaction that allow people to engage directly with their surrounding environment. By transforming the familiar into the extraordinary, Snarkitecture makes architecture perform the unexpected.

Maria Cristina Didero is an independent curator and freelance writer, based in Milan and working internationally. She collaborates on a regular basis with Domus and Vogue Italia, and she runs a monthly column on icon Design called “L’Ascensore.” Didero has curated numerous exhibitions in public and private institutions worldwide, contributing to several publications.