Building with Air
Dante Bini

Published June 2014 by Bibliotheque McLean
176 pp
148 x 210 mm
Litho printed, thread sewn with 8pp flapped cover
ISBN 9780955886843

Edited by Will Mclean

Essays by Gianfranco Dioguardi, Nicoló Bini and Lucio Fontana
Designed by Mark Boyce

On the afternoon of July 14th, 1964, a young reporter was traveling the road that connects Bologna to a town named Crespellano. He had been assigned to write an article about a local beauty contest. Towards midnight, driving the same route on his way back, he could not help spotting a “sinister” gray mass, a globular form nearly twenty feet high, illuminated by his headlights. It had certainly not been there on his trip out that afternoon. His curiosity was such that he stopped the car and cautiously approached “that thing”, which in addition to a sound was also giving off a fine mist resulting from condensation. He touched the surface of the structure and realized that it was warm concrete, in the process of setting. Having first ruled out the idea that Martians had landed, he spotted the light of a nearby farmhouse window and rapped on the windowpane. When he asked the farmer what had happened, it seems the man replied in dialect: “L’è gno cà un architact ed Bulagna, la fat sta bocia e l’è andà a ca!” That is, an architect from Bologna came, made this big ball, and then went home!

Thus begins the incredible story of an Italian architect transplanted overseas: Dante Bini, inventor of the Binishell, the dome that incredibly, is built with air. Bini recounts how, from that first prototype on the Emilian plain, he came to conceive of a completely new architecture through a series of realised projects and design proposals in Italy, The United States, Pakistan, Japan, Australia and even space stations on the moon. Bini describes his unique ‘Binidome’ structures, which become more technically daring and aesthetically complex and underpin his theory of ‘construction automation’. This is an autobiography of an extraordinary professional life dedicated to invention and the structural arts, an account which is both funny and insightful, and concludes by reflecting on human ingenuity and its infinite possibilities.

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