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The Fun House Comes to DC

by Nena Perry-Brown

The Fun House Comes to DC: Figure 1
"Fun House" cushions on the front lawn. Click to enlarge.

The National Building Museum will debut its fifth annual massive Summer Block Party installation tomorrow: the Fun House from New York-based design firm Snarkitecture.

Spanning the entire football field-length of the museum's Great Hall, the Fun House remixes installations the design firm has mounted in various cities and institutions over the years while highlighting some of the firm's lesser-known wares. 

The house has a front yard that references "A Memorial Bowing", a public-commissioned piece that debuted in 2012 in Miami; in this iteration, eight 12-foot covered foam cushions spell out "FUN HOUSE", providing places to lounge and await entry to the house itself. 

The Fun House Comes to DC: Figure 2
Aerial of the backyard pool deck. Click to enlarge.

In the elevated back yard, a pool deck sets the scene for a return to "The Beach", a wildly popular Block Party installation from a couple years ago characterized by hundreds of thousands of plastic balls. Here, the balls will fill a 1-foot wading pool and a deeper kidney-shaped pool. A forced perspective "playhouse" structure with a slatted pitched roof offers a prelude to the pool deck.

The Fun House Comes to DC: Figure 3
View of the hall from inside "Diig". Click to enlarge.

The front entrance of the house leads to a cavernous foyer called "Dig", a partially skylit walk-through nook with foam on all sides. The Dig leads to the "Light Cavern" bedroom, where 30,000 perforated fabric strips as long as 16 feet hang from the ceiling.

Accessible from the side of the house, a playroom has a pair of rounded rectangular mirrors, one on the ceiling and one on the floor, with the latter providing a base for a giant Marble Run, composed of several small sets, which visitors can plop black marbles into. The house also has a bathroom with a tub-like, plastic ball-filled "Beach Chair" and a study that displays several pieces of furniture and accessories Snarkitecture designed.

The kitchen features several original designs, including a custom Caesarstone-collaboration island, a 3D-esque wallpaper created from high-resolution images of hand-worked layers of paper, and Ikea-sourced cabinets with cutaway doors created with a computer-programmed CNC machine. 

An open living room sits at the back of the house, with a pillow fort beneath a ceiling where inflated vinyl tubes, each two feet in diameter and either 16 or 20 feet long, dangle from the ceiling to form an oculus.

The Fun House exhibit opens on July 4th and runs through September 3rd. Tickets for timed entry into the House itself will be available online and at the museum.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/the-fun-house-comes-to-dc/14184

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