American design studio Qastic has created an inflatable pavilion with a floating PVC roof held down by fabric veils.
This deployable structure, called Floatastic, aims to create a floated shelter which avoids imposing any loads on the ground, which traditional structures require. Instead it proposes a well-fabricated balloon, which is filled with Helium to raise the imposed loads of fabric veils and any possible dynamic environmental loads toward the sky.
The idea is explored through the pavilion’s possible functions and effects, by which an abstracted mass can impose both relaxation and tension on fabric surfaces. It is within this dialogue of the helium container and the loads that architects can test possible architectural and spatial effects, with articulation between balloon edges and fabric veils exploring the possibilities in which the complex surface veils are relaxed, or in tension, in double curvature configurations.
Making use of the method of reversing load bearing systems, the form of the pavilion is defined by geometrically precise formwork that is then fabricated with randomly varying edges both for the horizontal balloon and the PVC pipes on the ground to allow for varied functions at different heights, climates and locations.
Since the surrounding environment and microclimate fluctuate in a 24-hour cycle, our studies found that the floating pavilion will experience many buoyant conditions which are unique, but steady.
Metaphorically, Floatastic was envisioned to be a surrealistic and breathtaking imitation of the Jellyfish that appears alive and tries to swim against the external forces in the water. However, rather than being in the water, Floatastic questions its audiences to unconsciously know if they are floating in the sea or on the ground.
Location: New Haven, Connecticut, USA
Architect: Qastic Studio, New York, USA
Technical info: PVC membrane and pipes
Picture credits: Qastic Studio