Bjarke Ingels' "BIG Maze" opens at
Washington's National Building Museum

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News: visitors to the National Building Museum in Washington DC can now get lost inside a concave wooden maze installed by Danish architecture firm BIG (+ slideshow).

Located inside the west court of the National Building Museum's Great Hall, the BIG Maze is an 18-square-metre maze built entirely from Baltic Birch plywood.

Bjarke Ingels' "BIG Maze" opens at Washington's National Building Museum

BIG – the firm led by architect Bjarke Ingels – developed the form of the maze by combining styles of mazes throughout history, from ancient Greek labyrinths to European hedge mazes and modern American corn mazes.

Bjarke Ingels' "BIG Maze" opens at Washington's National Building Museum

"The concept is simple: as you travel deeper into a maze, your path typically becomes more convoluted," said Ingels, describing the concept when the project was unveiled in April.



"What if we invert this scenario and create a maze that brings clarity and visual understanding upon reaching the heart of the labyrinth?" he said.

Bjarke Ingels' "BIG Maze" opens at Washington's National Building Museum

The indoor maze has a perimeter height of five and a half metres. This gradually diminishes towards the centre, so that as people reach the middle they can see their route out.

Visitors to the museum's upper-floor balconies are also offered an aerial view of the spaces below.

Bjarke Ingels' "BIG Maze" opens at Washington's National Building Museum

"From outside, the maze's cube-like form hides the final reveal behind its 18-foot-tall walls. On the inside, the walls slowly descend towards the centre, which concludes with a grand reveal - a 360 degree understanding of your path in and how to get out," said Ingels.

Bjarke Ingels' "BIG Maze" opens at Washington's National Building Museum

The BIG Maze opened to the public on Friday and will remain in place until 1 September. It will be followed up by a wider exhibition of BIG's work, which will open in January 2015.

Bjarke Ingels' "BIG Maze" opens at Washington's National Building Museum

"This distinctive maze offers our visitors a chance to physically interact with the work of a cutting-edge, international design firm," said Chase W. Rynd, the museum's executive director. "It will be a great framework for exploring the exhibition in a few months."

  • Peter Guthrie

    I’d also like to know who took the photos.