Labyrinth installation at the National Building Museum by Bjarke Ingels Group, Washington DC

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For an installation at the National Building Museum in Washington DC, Danish architecture firm BIG looked at the style of mazes through history and asked: ’Can a maze reveal itself?’

Labyrinth installation at the National Building Museum by Bjarke Ingels Group, Washington DC

The maze’s straightforward concept is clearly put forward by the studio’s founder architect Bjarke Ingels: ‘As you travel deeper into a maze, your path typically becomes more convoluted. What if we invert this scenario and create a panopticon that brings clarity and visual understanding upon reaching the heart of the labyrinth?’

Labyrinth installation at the National Building Museum by Bjarke Ingels Group, Washington DC

Sitting in the West Court of the museum’s Great Hall, the concave 18-m2 maze is built entirely from Baltic birch plywood. From the outside, the wooden structure’s cube-like form hides the final reveal behind its over 5-m-tall perimeter walls. On the inside, the walls slowly descend towards the centre, concluding with a grand reveal: a 360-degree understanding of where visitors came from and where they need to go next.

Design: Bjarke Ingels Group
Photography: Kevin Allen

Labyrinth installation at the National Building Museum by Bjarke Ingels Group, Washington DC