• National Building Museum builds giant maze to open your eyes
07.10.14

National Building Museum builds giant maze to open your eyes

Their first large scale installation since 1988, the National Building Museum in Washington D.C. tapped Danish architectural design firm BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group to create an enormous concavernous maze with 18-foot walls in their atrium. Aptly titled "The Big Maze," the piece was inspired by ancient labyrinths, garden and hedge mazes of 17th and 18th-century Europe, and modern American corn mazes. 

For many game designers, the first thing you build is a good maze. From Colossal Cave Adventure to Maniac Mansion to Wolfenstein to Dark Souls' Blightown, mazes have been a de facto way to allure and confuse players. And while it's easy to build an impossible maze (just add complexity), creating a maze that both encourages people to continue while frustrating them enough to be a challenge is very, very difficult. As game designer Martin Neruka wrote, "The Maze is not a place of habitation for the visitor. He is a stranger and clearly not at home here." Striking that balance of welcome and rejection is a tough line to walk.

But Bjarke Ingels wanted to invert that feeling of displacement: "The concept is simple: as you travel deeper into a maze, your path typically becomes more convoluted. what if we invert this scenario and create a maze that brings clarity and visual understanding upon reaching the heart of the labyrinth?"

The maze will be open until September 1st.

[h/t Designboom]