In brief: InFloatables

A Sydney workshop held in conjunction with London’s Architectural Association explores inflatable buildings.

For ten days in February 2012, InFloatables, the Sydney instalment of the Architectural Association Visiting School, designed and developed inflatable structures in response to ongoing climatic phenomena, such as rising sea levels along Sydney’s waterfront.

First, the school introduced the theme of “tooling-up.” Along with learning physical and digital techniques, “tooling-up” incorporated theoretical frameworks and precedent knowledge, including the work undertaken by Ant Farm in San Francisco during the 1970s. This was accompanied by a two-day physical prototyping session led by Grace Mortlock (a director of Make-Space for Architecture).

Physical techniques were supported with the latest computer modelling and parametric design. Students learned to model and digitally inflate structures, extract cutting patterns and rebuild the physical counterparts. Moving between the digital and the analogue, and newly equipped with techniques for inflation, surface welding, structural pleating and maintaining pressure, the students applied themselves to questions of envelope, surface articulation and the relation to harbour edge conditions. With only plastic drop sheets, packing tape and a household fan, students were quickly able to design and build large and evocative enclosures.

The AA Visiting School, hosted by the University of Technology, Sydney, was run by Jeffrey Turko, Nate Colby, Iain Maxwell, Tom Lea and Robert Beson.



Published online: 2 Aug 2012
Images: Jeffrey Turko


Architecture Australia, May 2012

Related topics

More review

See all
Harry Seidler and fellow students at Black Mountain College, North Carolina, USA, 1946. Thistleblowers: Bauhaus Diaspora and Beyond

Caroline Montague explores a new publication that celebrates this iconic movement and the spread of its influence.

The Garma Cultural Knowledge Centre in North East Arnhem Land (2014), built on the land of the Yolngu people and designed by Build Up Design, is an example of a project that combines Indigenous customs with introduced ways to negotiate a creative synthesis. The Handbook of Contemporary Indigenous Architecture

Julie Willis reviews this hefty volume which provides a significant snapshot of our understanding of Indigenous architectures throughout the world.

Barangaroo. A decade in Australian architecture

We recount the defining issues, perennial talking points and the most impactful buildings in this review of the past decade.

Blott House (1956) by Robin Boyd. Celebration, collaboration and conservation: 2019 in review

The final year of the decade was a testing one for architects, with a number of urgent issues – building standards, the climate crisis, and …

Most read

Latest on site