'Lawn' Coming to DC this Summer

John Hill
1. May 2019
Visualization: LAB at Rockwell Group

The National Building Museum in Washington, DC, has released renderings for its sixth annual Summer Block Party installation. Lawn, designed by the LAB at Rockwell Group, will fill the museum's Great Hall as a sloping green surface.

David Rockwell, head of New York's Rockwell Group, describes the American lawn as "a fascinating example of a typology that straddles the line between public and private space." Seeing backyard and public green lawns as places that "bring people together and foster a sense of community," the firm's 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."

In turn, Lawn will be a synthetic green surface built atop terraced scaffolding in NBM's grand central hall (the 19th-century building originally served as the headquarters of the United States Pension Bureau). People can lounge across the lawn at various communal areas or sit in hammocks where hidden speakers broadcast recorded summertime stories written by "prominent American storytellers." A scaffolding tower will also give visitors "never-before-seen views of the Great Hall, column capitals, and sculptural busts lining the roof."

Visualization: LAB at Rockwell Group

The LAB at Rockwell Group — an "experience design studio that builds memorable spaces that engage the senses through strategic storytelling, immersive environments, and evocative content" — will layer an augmented reality app over the surface. The custom software will enable visitors "to chase and collect fireflies throughout the lawn" and then "release" them back into the space.

After the installation's two-month run this summer, the 100% recyclable fake lawn, made of of sustainably grown sugarcane on a soybean-based backing, will be repurposed, while the scaffolding will be reused on other projects in DC. Lawn will be on display at the National Building Museum from July 4 through September 2, 2019.

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