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National Building Museum Debuts Giant Indoor Maze

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The museum hopes that attractions like the maze will help draw people in who might not ordinarily have been interested in architecture.
Armando Trull/WAMU
The museum hopes that attractions like the maze will help draw people in who might not ordinarily have been interested in architecture.

The National Building Museum is set to open a new exhibit tomorrow: it's a giant indoor maze designed by Danish architects.

The maze occupies one end of the massive indoor courtyard of the National Building Museum. The structure's walls dwarves those who wander through, explains Cathy Frankel the Museum's Vice President of Exhibitions.

"They're 18-feet at the corners, so very high, a little disorienting as you walk through," Frankel says.

So maybe that's why children chose to dash through the twists and turns of maple plywood that make up the 60 by 60 structure.

"About 1,200 sheets in all — quite a bit of plywood," Frankel says.

The Scandinavian architects also played with heights within the maze.

"It does slope downward. That was the designer's plan: to reveal sort of where you came from and where you need to go it goes down to about three and a half feet from the 18 feet peak."

Unlike traditional European hedge mazes, where the difficult part is at the center, this modern take on mazes gets easier as you progress inward. In fact, the key to escaping is the center where the way out is easier to guess.

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