Air-inflated fabric structures
Building with air, the most natural of all materials, is a special challenge because air-inflated components are used in place of the usual load-bearing components.
The idea behind Airtecture is based on mechanically pre-tensioned membrane constructions that have been used for several interesting buildings (e.g. the German Pavilion at the EXPO 1992 in Seville, Spain, or the Denver International Airport in Colorado). The most important innovation of Airtecture is that the membranes are not mechanically pre-tensioned but by means of air pressure in such a way that they are able to bear loads.
German pneumatic experts Festo modelled Airtecture after early air-supported structures. In contrast to such buildings, however, Airtecture works with a much higher air pressure and also has atmospheric pressure in the inside.
Contact: Festo AG, Esslingen, Germany.
For more information, see Transmaterial: A Catalog of Materials That Redefine our Physical Environment