Cloud10: Inflated Ideas

Part of the The Urban Book Series book series (UBS)


The lethargic nature of massive permanent architecture , resulting from the manner and material in which we build, creates the opportunity for built form to be flexible and adaptive to our contemporary practices and programmatic undertakings. While mass and matter have dominated building practice and performance, there is the potential for greater flexibility within built structures. Such flexibility would better enable fluctuating social structures and evolve how built form might facilitate more fluid and dynamic programme. Category5 , a team of postgraduate students set within the Architectural Association’s Design Research Lab (AADRL), seek to provide a new means of light and adaptive architecture. A series of patterned inflatable foil structures become the premise for adopting air as mass and structure, to enable a lightweight architecture of flight. Through the means of design experimentation, digital simulation and physical prototyping, a method of design is developed to pursue the nature of interactivity and immediate response that is so prevalent in our everyday digital technology but lacking in our built environment . The design brief, in particular, is to provide a research centre in the Antarctic for meteorologists who are currently burdened by both the unforgiving context of the frozen continent and the inertia of current research centres on site. The resulting project, Cloud10 evolved via the imperative search for real-time adaptation to the unpredictable nature of environmental conditions and the provision of a flexible structure that responds to the changing needs and programmatic schedules of the researchers. Cloud10 is a prototypical endeavour that adopts lightness as a construct, not simply a concept, providing stability via mobility and flexibility via contextual adaptation.


Inflatables Airborne architecture Prototypical Migrating urbanism Self-organisation 



Category5 (Jorge Méndez-Cáceres, Drew Merkle, Nada Taryam), Theodore Spyropoulos (Director AADRL).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Category5 of Architectural Association School of ArchitectureDesign Research LabLondonUK

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