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Inflables : 100 anys bufant... = Inflatables : 100 years blowing...

Quaderns d'arquitectura i urbanisme
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  • Design
  • Ecology
  • Engineering
  • Geography
  • Political Science


018-035 cat-ang.indd For almost a century now, pneumatic architecture has been one of the most ground-breaking fields of experimentation and research in architecture, design and civil engineering. The British engineer Frederick William Lanchester developed a patent for a pneumatic roof in 1917 and is considered the pioneer of this type of construction. Some projects were developed in the first half of the century, but the boom came in the second half. In the USA, Walter Bird, Victor Lundy and Buckminster Fuller were some of the engineers to develop the most significant projects. In 1962, Frei Otto published Zugbeanspruchte Konstruktionen, in which he systematised the entire field of pneumatic technology developed up until that time and made a compilation of the foremost projects. The common thread of all inflatable projects is their faith in the development of an epidermis to solve all spatial, environmental, programmatic and structural requirements. This drastic restriction on the project elements has proved to be a very productive context for work; not only has it been no impediment to the more creative solutions but, paradoxically, it was adopted as a construction system by cultural and political movements which regarded it as the epitome of freedom. In the revolution of 1968, pneumatic architecture became a standard for the more progressive positions. In the text accompanying ‘The Inflatable Moment. Pneumatics and Protests in ’68’, the exhibition produced by the Architectural League in 1998, Joan Ockman writes: ‘Superseding earlier megastructure fantasies, the blow-up structure was seen as an antimonumental—and therefore anti-establishment—answer to the avant- garde’s desire for emancipation through technology. Fluidly indeterminate, user-oriented, sensuous and mobile, it seemed responsive to a dawning eco- consciousness on the part of consumers

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