Event Title

New Pneumatics

Mentor 1

Whitney Moon

Location

Union Cinema

Start Date

29-4-2016 12:20 PM

Description

At the onset of our work we looked to the past to inform the present. Antfarm’s Inflatocookbook (1971), a do-it-yourself manual for creating inflatable (a.k.a. pneumatic) architecture, was a jumping-off point for us. Our goal was to improve upon their methods and to bring the pneumatic into the 21st century. After acquainting ourselves with Ant Farm’s materials and techniques for creating pneumatics, we decided upon a method of construction. As opposed to the single membrane construction primarily seen in the Inflatocookbook, we decided to pursue a double membrane surface, because it offered more possibilities for optimum formal, structural and thermal performance. (It should be noted that a single membrane building is one in which a person occupies the air-filled space, whereas a double membrane creates a shell in which the air forms a structural system.) By designing and fabricating a small-scale pneumatic building, we tried to address two of the larger issues we found when introduced to the medium: stability and permeability. We used heat seaming to meld two layers of plastic sheeting together, leaving space between the seams. This spacing determined the size of the air-filled ribbing, which in turn, impacted the rigidity of the construction. Because plastic itself serves as poor insulation, both from radiant solar energy and low temperatures , we were able to channel the excess pressure created by the blower into small vents on the inside of the structure. This method regulated airflow and helped to ventilate the interior. After spending time inside the structure on a hot summer day, we found that, although the venting helped, the transparency of the plastic allowed for uncomfortable amounts of solar gain. Another problem that we encountered was its propensity to collapse under high winds. In the future, we hope to address both of these issues with a change in material – a move away from plastic, and towards coated fabric. This would provide less transparency and a heavier skin to support the pneumatic structure against the elements. A work in progress, we believe that this material experimentation will allow us to redefine pneumatics in the 21st century.

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Apr 29th, 12:20 PM

New Pneumatics

Union Cinema

At the onset of our work we looked to the past to inform the present. Antfarm’s Inflatocookbook (1971), a do-it-yourself manual for creating inflatable (a.k.a. pneumatic) architecture, was a jumping-off point for us. Our goal was to improve upon their methods and to bring the pneumatic into the 21st century. After acquainting ourselves with Ant Farm’s materials and techniques for creating pneumatics, we decided upon a method of construction. As opposed to the single membrane construction primarily seen in the Inflatocookbook, we decided to pursue a double membrane surface, because it offered more possibilities for optimum formal, structural and thermal performance. (It should be noted that a single membrane building is one in which a person occupies the air-filled space, whereas a double membrane creates a shell in which the air forms a structural system.) By designing and fabricating a small-scale pneumatic building, we tried to address two of the larger issues we found when introduced to the medium: stability and permeability. We used heat seaming to meld two layers of plastic sheeting together, leaving space between the seams. This spacing determined the size of the air-filled ribbing, which in turn, impacted the rigidity of the construction. Because plastic itself serves as poor insulation, both from radiant solar energy and low temperatures , we were able to channel the excess pressure created by the blower into small vents on the inside of the structure. This method regulated airflow and helped to ventilate the interior. After spending time inside the structure on a hot summer day, we found that, although the venting helped, the transparency of the plastic allowed for uncomfortable amounts of solar gain. Another problem that we encountered was its propensity to collapse under high winds. In the future, we hope to address both of these issues with a change in material – a move away from plastic, and towards coated fabric. This would provide less transparency and a heavier skin to support the pneumatic structure against the elements. A work in progress, we believe that this material experimentation will allow us to redefine pneumatics in the 21st century.