Petchey Academy


Animating Matter

Gabriel Warshafsky
Rachel Yemitan

In this workshop, the students design, construct and inflate a large-scale membrane structure to house and frame a collective ritual. This could be as simple in nature as a private conversation, or as elaborate as a tea ceremony. Students work in a direct and hands-on manner, learning to scale up designs from paper maquettes to large inflatables, in the space of hours. The students are encouraged to explore relationships between architecture and performance, both in terms of the drama of the construction (or inflation) of the piece, and of the way that bodies interact with the completed structure. The workshop utilises plastic sheeting, heat sealing seams and inflating using electrical fans. The various processes, students get an understanding of fluid pressures, while mastering a technique favoured by radical architects since the 1960s as a cheap, fast and easy method to replicate. The ability to conceive and execute grandiose formal gestures in a matter of hours allows students to test spatial ideas while empowering them to initiate their own projects.

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