Giant Maze Taking Over National Building Museum

Maze in a Museum

The National Building Museum wants visitors to get lost in a new installation in the museum's Great Hall this summer.

On Friday, the museum will unveil a large-scale maze, in which visitors can navigate a series of twists and turns to find a big reveal at the center. The maze stands 18 feet high and measures 60 feet by 60 feet around.

The maze is designed to surprise visitors more accustomed to corn and hedge mazes, said Cathy Frankel, project director for the maze.

Unlike a traditional maze that becomes more convoluted at the center, the designers say this maze is different. As a visitor travels deeper into the maze, the path brings more clarity.

On the inside, the walls slowly descend toward the center. Frankel said that it looks like a "scoop" has been taken out of the structure.

Danish architectural firm BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group designed the maze.

"Bjarke Ingels turned the idea of a maze upside down," Frankel said. "It ties into what we do here at the museum, revealing the layers of our built world."

Organizers say this is the first large-scale building installation inside the National Building Museum since 1988. It's part of the museum's "Summer Block Party" series, which features Hill Country's Backyard BBQ, concerts on Sundays and other exhibits which are all about summertime fun.


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Frankel said that the BIG group is known for "their playful nature," which made them a good fit for the series.

Two recent architecture graduates from the University of Cincinnati, Mary Wischmeyer and David Burgei, were among the first visitors able to take a sneak peek at the exhibit Thursday.

Wischmeyer said that she liked the "clean and pristine" materials and lines of the scooped structure.

BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group has "such a magnificence in how they put the materials together," she said.

Burgei called the exhibition "wonderful."

"I really liked that the walls are so high that you're really enveloped by the maze," he said. "Then when you get to the center it almost appears that you're looking over the whole thing."

The attraction will run from July 4 until Sept. 1.

Tickets are only available in person and cost $16 for adults and $13 for children, and include access to all of the museum's exhibits. Lower prices do apply for museum members.

Get more information, including on late-night hours and special pre-opening "buildout tours," at the museum's website.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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