James Corner brings icebergs to Washington DC

The British-born landscape architect’s new installation at the National Building Museum mimics a glacial ice field
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ICEBERGS by James Corner Field Operations. Photography by Timothy Schenck. Image courtesy of the National Building Museum.
ICEBERGS by James Corner Field Operations. Photography by Timothy Schenck. Image courtesy of the National Building Museum.

James Corner Field Operations is the esteemed landscape-architecture practice which, alongside architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro, transformed a derelict elevated railway into the 21st century’s most famous urban park: the High Line.

However, when Corner and co aren’t reordering unruly stretches of wild space, the practice sometimes introduces a little wilderness into the most ordered environment.

 

ICEBERGS by James Corner Field Operations. Photography by Timothy Schenck. Image courtesy of the National Building Museum.
ICEBERGS by James Corner Field Operations. Photography by Timothy Schenck. Image courtesy of the National Building Museum.

Take a look at their new installation, ICEBERGS, which has just opened at the National Building Museum in Washing DC and runs until 5 September. The 12,540 square-feet exhibition serves as a welcome cooling-off space, where the summertime temperatures often top 30 °C (86 °F). Visitors to the museum, just north of the National Mall, can enjoy the fake ice field’s full-strength air conditioning as well as beanbags, slides and shaved-ice refreshments.

However, the installation also demonstrates the way builders and architects can represent a natural landscape with simple, prefabricated units, and, of course, raises important ecological concerns.

 

ICEBERGS by James Corner Field Operations. Photography by Timothy Schenck. Image courtesy of the National Building Museum.
ICEBERGS by James Corner Field Operations. Photography by Timothy Schenck. Image courtesy of the National Building Museum.

“ICEBERGS invokes the surreal underwater-world of glacial ice fields,” says British born Corner, founder and director of James Corner Field Operations. “Such a world is both beautiful and ominous given our current epoch of climate change, ice-melt, and rising seas. The installation creates an ambient field of texture, movement, and interaction, as in an unfolding landscape of multiples, distinct from a static, single object.” Something to bear in mind, when you’re enjoying that shaved ice.

 

ICEBERGS by James Corner Field Operations. Photography by Timothy Schenck. Image courtesy of the National Building Museum.
ICEBERGS by James Corner Field Operations. Photography by Timothy Schenck. Image courtesy of the National Building Museum.

To learn more about the High Line from the people who made it order your copy of their new book here.  Also, if you really love the park, consider giving it a little help. Each year, Friends of the High Line provides 98 percent of the funds needed to operate, maintain, program and run the High Line— and they can only do so with the generous support of people like you. Go here to join Friends of the High Line.


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