Imagine No. 02: Deflateables
Text by Ulrich Knaack, Tillman Klein, Marcel Bilow.
Pneumatic structures were developed during the 1960s. However, the energy crisis and aesthetic developments impeded the use of these structures as a mainstream construction method. Nowadays, they are typically used in special areas of architecture and design. Deflateables concentrates on the limited knowledge of vacuum constructions and develops a range of aesthetic, technical and functional design possibilities. Very few designs that use pressurized constructions have actually been realized, even today, despite the fact that this technology offers simple, positive aspects: the air pressure of the earth can be used as a stabilizing and form-giving parameter, creating a specific and inspiring shape. In addition, the very nature of this technology provides varying degrees of thermal and acoustic insulation. Of course, it has its weaknesses, such as potential leakage and the need for high pressurization of the construction; but new material technologies and specific structural concepts can bring solutions to such issues. Exploiting the possibilities of extremely light and energetically active constructions, deflateables are one of the promising fields of architectural and design developments. The chance to create structures that can move and react to requests such as user and climate requirements as well as formative demands lifts this topic onto the level of a realistic and usable technology for as-yet-unknown design possibilities.