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Craft, Computations, and Constructions
Research and Teaching by Jonathan Dessi-Olive.

︎MycoMatters Lab

Tactical Pneumatics III & IV


Applications of pneumatic (air-supported) structures in engineering and other technical fields far precede their application in architecture. As a means of transport, pneumatic boats date back to the late 19th century, and airships experienced a “golden age” until the famous catastrophe of the Hindenburg airship in 1937. In architecture, inflatable structures have been of interest to designers for almost seventy years because they offer opportunities for maximizing the global volume change before and after it is deployed, and minimizing the overall weight. The peak interest into inflatable structures can be identified in the mid-20th century, when design and analytical procedures were formalized by engineers such as Frei Otto. Following this, art and design groups such as Archigram, Haus-Rucker-Co, Coop Himmelb(l)au, and Ant Farm each proposed and promoted the use of rapidly deployable and materially economic environments using inflatables. Although they were less popular in the latter half of the 20th century, inflatables have recently undergone a sort of renaissance, in part due to the eminent need to address global issues such as material scarcity and mass movement of people due to the effects of climate change.

Workshops were held in the same week at Kansas State University and Louisana State University. Following a brief historical overview of inflatable structures in architecture, design, and art, the workshop participants were introduced to a suite of current computational design tools that can assist in the imagining and fabricating of such environments. In teams, workshop participants designed and built their own inflatable environments under a very simple premise: the structures must be made of HDPE plastic sheeting; must fit within a volume of 5m x 5m x 5m fit with the whole team inside. 

Pre-Pandemic Pneumatics


Department of Architecture at Kansas State University

Manhattan, KS

School of Architecture at Louisiana State University

Baton Rouge, LA

Tactical Pneumatics IV:
By Students Participating in the Virtual Frictions Workshops  |  February 2020, Louisiana State University

Tactical Pneumatics III
By Students in Thin and Thick Construction Seminar  |   February 2020, Bosco Plaza - Kansas State University

Other Projects:
all work by Jonathan Dessi-Olive unless otherwise noted.  © 2022 all rights reserved.