Snarkitecture returns to the National Building Museum

Categories: Articles, Press

New exhibition takes over the Great Hall for the fifth annual Summer Block Party series

From left: Alex Mustonen, Daniel Arsham, and Benjamin Porto. Photo by Noah Kalina.

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The National Building Museum announced today that Snarkitecture will design the 2018 Summer Block Party exhibition for the Museum’s Great Hall. The temporary structure, titled Fun House, will be the fifth in the Museum’s annual summer series. Fun House will open from July 4 through September 3, 2018.

Fun House is Snarkitecture’s first comprehensive museum exhibition, which will examine the prolific activities of the studio. Curated by Italy-based Maria Cristina Didero, the exhibition will be 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 that visitors can explore, 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. The house also features a front and backyard with “outdoor” activities that visitors will recognize.

Fun House follows Hive by Studio Gang, ICEBERGS by James Corner Field Operations, and the BIG Maze by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), as well as Snarkitecture’s The BEACH, the installation for the 2015 Summer Block Party. The BEACH, which covered 10,000 square feet of the Great Hall with nearly one million recyclable translucent plastic balls, welcomed over 180,000 visitors over the span of eight weeks and remains one of the most popular National Building Museum exhibitions to date.

“Making architecture and design approachable and fun is at the heart of the success of our summer series,” said Chase Rynd, executive director of the National Building Museum. “Snarkitecture really understands our mission of inspiring curiosity about the world we design and build, and we’re excited to be working with them for the second time. We know our visitors will be thrilled to immerse themselves in Snarkitecture’s world yet again.”

Founded in 2008 by Alex Mustonen and Daniel Arsham, and joined by partner Benjamin Porto in 2014, Snarkitecture is collaborative practice operating between art and architecture based in New York. 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 upcoming tenth anniversary represents an opportune time to re-explore past work in a brand new format.

“We’re excited to return to the National Building Museum and Washington, D.C. with Fun House, the first exhibition looking back at past projects by Snarkitecture,” said Alex Mustonen, co-founder of Snarkitecture. “Part museum exhibition and part immersive environment, the project invites visitors to explore Snarkitecture’s past installations, furniture and objects. In keeping with our goal of making architecture accessible and engaging, we look forward to introducing a new audience to Snarkitecture’s work and practice.”

Details of Snarkitecture’s design are forthcoming. Fun House will be complemented by programs and events, and ticket purchasers will be able to visit all of the Museum’s exhibitions, including the forthcoming Evicted and Secret Cities: The Architecture and Planning of the Manhattan Project.

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

Ali Moran, associate director, Camron PR, 917.675.4377

More information about the installation, including renderings, is forthcoming. A press preview will be held on Tuesday, July 3 at 10 am. Space is limited. To register, contact Emma Filar.

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.

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