A Chip Off The Old Block (Of Ice)

Is it a cool summertime midweek dance venue? A visual metaphor for the threat of global warming? A nice place to curl up with a book on a lazy afternoon? The best use of the atrium of an enormous 19th-century government building that we’ve seen in a long time? Answer: all of the above. Designed by James Corner Field Operations—the same landscape architecture firm that came up with Manhattan’s High Line—the Icebergs installation re-creates a “glacial sea” in the center of the Great Hall of the National Building Museum, which was itself constructed to house the U.S. Pension Bureau back in the 1880s. (Why such a big building? To service all those Civil War veterans, and their families.) You have to see it to believe it: “icebergs” reaching fifty feet into the air, a see-through “water line” scrim that veils the “undersea” seating area, strewn with big pillows, an “ice chute” you can slide through, “Late Night” DJ performances on Wednesday evenings. Part of the museum’s annual Summer Block Party series, the bergs will melt away after Labor Day.

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ICEBERGS_Tim Schenck_14Photos Courtesy of Tim Schenck