An environmentally responsive balloon structure
I.D. 2009 Annual Design Review Environment category,
A beacon for the 2008 Taiwan Designers’ Week, the Cloud is a self-floating temporary canopy on the outdoor 44 South Village Civic Plaza where the design fair is held. Having participated in the plaza’s design several years back, where the demolished roofscape of the 1948 army quarters was transformed into grounded green slopes on the plaza, the Cloud—descending from above—forms an interesting urban dialog with the site’s history.
The Cloud has a body mass of 900m3 that is buoyed by a 10x30x3m transparent balloon space frame that is encased in a soft translucent sac of synthetic fibers. The massive balloon space frame is made up of 12 balloons, 3.5m in diameter and filled with 150,000L of helium gas, which are tied into a 3D web structure with the balloons acting as “nodes” and nylon ropes as tensile members. The balloons are positioned at varying heights and are connected from imaginary center to imaginary center with precision engineered ropes of various lengths and angles that are tied onto custom attachments points on the balloons’ curved surfaces.
The Cloud defines an outdoor hang out area for events and DJ parties with its shape-shifting mass that responds to wind movements and air pressure changes. Through its soft translucent membrane skin, the Cloud filters scorching sunlight into an ephemeral glow. As air pressure drops before rain falls, the Cloud will react by lowering from its 9 to 12m flying height to hover just above ground, therefore “predicting” rain during the hot summer week.
The Cloud combines CAD/CAM with a very simple design concept: using minimal means and everyday materials to create surprising environmentally responsive effects.
Location: Taipei City, Taiwan
Program Function: Art/Culture
Installation Design: XRANGE Architects
Floor Area: 300 m2
Structural Engineers: Masatoshi Tomita
WINNER OF 2009 I.D.ANNUAL DESIGN REVIEW,