Trending
10 Questions With... Maurice Mentjens
Prolific designer Maurice Mentjens, whose firm has won the Dutch ...
Crypton Introduces its First Vinyl
Revl, a new vinyl from Crypton in collaboration with O’Sullivan ...
MoMA Proves Latin American Architecture is More Than Oscar Niemeyer
Eladio Dieste. Church in Atlantida, Uruguay, 1958. Photo by Leonardo ...
Axor LampShower with Nendo: A Genius Fusion of Water and Light
Sponsored by Axor It's well known in product development that ...
Product Roundup: 29 Outdoor Furnishings
  From hanging loungers and sculptural planters to striking silhouettes ...

JOB ZONE

jobseekers:

employers:

 
Weekly Poll
Which flooring trend are you dying to specify?

    Calendar Upcoming Events
    Apr 01
    Moscow, Russian Federation

    Domotex Russia

    Apr 03
    New York, NY

    Blackman Cruz Auction

    Apr 08
    San Diego, CA, United States

    Boutique West in San Diego

    Apr 14
    Orlando, FL, United States

    Coverings '15: The Global Tile and Stone Experience

    Apr 14
    Milano, Italy

    isaloni/Cosmit - Salone Internazionale del Mobile


    Close Search by date

    or See All Upcoming Events

    industry_article_detail_left_zone

    Rockwell Group’s “Play Work Build” Opens at National Building Museum

    The National Building Museum's "Play Work Build" exhibition. Photo by Kevin Allen.

    The National Building Museum's "Play Work Build" exhibition. Photo by Kevin Allen.

    In an upstairs gallery of the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., four-dozen shrieking Kindergartners from a local charter school have descended on the exhibition “Play Work Build” and are ripping it apart piece by piece and, with gleeful purpose, reassembling the pieces with architectural abandon.

    Navigating the organized chaos, Rockwell Group principal Barry Richards could not be happier. His firm collaborated with the museum to create the interactive exhibit, centered around an indoor version of Rockwell Group’s Imagine Playground, a mobile play system of foam blocks in all shapes and sizes designed to encourage free play and collaboration. “The great things about blocks,” he muses, “is that no matter who they are or where they are, kids know exactly what to do with them.”

    Rockwell has installed more than 600 site-specific playgrounds around the world; for this one, up through November 2014, they covered the floors and walls with the trademark blue foam and filled the space with hundreds of large-scale blocks and noodles. The blue foam space is book-ended by displays representing the old and the new in building toys, beginning with antique architectural toys culled from the museum’s collection of 2,300 sets. These range from 19th-century alphabet blocks to rare midcentury plastic molded toys. In between are the staples of David Rockwell’s childhood.

    The National Building Museum's "Play Work Build" exhibition. Photo by Kevin Allen.

    The National Building Museum's "Play Work Build" exhibition. Photo by Kevin Allen.

    “I had older brothers so there were lots of Lincoln Logs, Tinkertoys, and Erector Sets around the house,” writes the Rockwell Group founder and CEO. “Then I started getting into Lite Bright and creating light constructions and I had a real passion for magic shows. I'd bring in the entire neighborhood, and we would build sets from scratch, using scrap materials, discarded boxes and random fabrics.”

    Apparently, such experiences influenced many a budding young architect. The exhibition is peppered with wall-text quotes from famous architects attesting to their love of construction toys. Moshe Safdie of Safdie Architects even built initial models of his famously modular Habitat House out of LEGOS.

    Students from the Two Rivers Public Charter School play with Imagination Playground blocks. Photo by Kevin Allen.

    Students from the Two Rivers Public Charter School play with Imagination Playground blocks. Photo by Kevin Allen.

    To decompress from all that building, visitors can head to the far end of the gallery, which features an interactive video projection created by Rockwell Group’s digital interaction team, the LAB. As if by magic, an outline of your body appears on a screen and seems to fill up with blue blocks. As soon as you jump or gesticulate, the virtual blocks tumble and scatter, only to start self-stacking again when you stand still.

    The exercise serves as metaphor for the larger point of the exhibition: the infinite cycle of creation and destruction that compels architects of all ages to ask “what if?” – what if we could build it better next time?

    industry_article_detail_central_zone