An Ephemeral Inflatable City

“The inside is the outside. The one is the negative of the positive. There are no small corners to hide with a low wall, buried for ever, like in today’s architecture. This conception does not accept the least oversight and judges itself. An ensemble that lives – and what a surprise if you think you’ve bought a volume seen from the outside when you visit the inside! Natural respiration. An architecture that breathes and lets you breathe. You rediscover architecture and its eternal nobility. You tremble, you open your eyes, listen, want to love, you are taken by a strong and active silence, you live, you realize that you are capable of living. That’s the why and wherefore of ‘inflatables’.”  — Hans-Walter Müller, Techniques and Architectures #304, 1975

For its May 2011 edition, the architecture festival Bellastock focused on Architecture of Air and Textile. About 1,300 students, reknown architects and artists gathered to conceive and build together an ephemeral inflatable city in the Île-de-France region. Conferences and workshops with specialists such as Hans-Walter Müller who created the Inflatables in the 60-70′s, and Gilles Ebersolt, guided the conception of 150 light transparent infrastructures. “The infrastructures are mobile micro-architecture pieces. They allow to explore experimental ecological principles and invent new sustainable solutions to daily habits and needs.”

The festival acknowledges its short life span in an interesting and poetic way. “The ephemeral city is very similar to the real city we live in, with perpetual constraints to which we try to find new answers all the time.” Looking forward to reading the publication the Bellastock festival team is working on.

Via Urbain Trop Urbain (in French), pictures by Les Mots d’Images/Jean-Paul Esteve and M. Botton